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HeivriiiRi 

pftl^e^i 

^ 


THE 
RED 
GARDEN 


NEW  BORZOI  NOVELS 
FALL,  IQ22 

The  Quest 

Pio   Baroja 
The  Room 

G.   B.   Stern 
One  of  Ours 

fVilla    Gather 
A   Lovely   Day 

Henry  Ceard 
Mary  Lee 

Geoffrey    Dennis 
Tutors'   Lane 

fVilmarth   Lewis 
The  Promised  Isle 

Lanrids    Bruun 
The  Return 

IFalter   de   la  Mare 
The    Bright    Shawl 

Joseph    Hergesheimer 
The  Moth  Decides 

Edivard    A I  den    Jewell 
Indian   Summer 

Emily    Grant    Hutchings 

THE  RED  GARDEN 


TRANSLATED  FROM  THE  DANISH  OF 

HENNING  KEHLER 

BY  FRITHJOF  TOKSVIG 


NEW  YORK       ALFRED  •  A  •  KNOPF       mcmxxii 


COPYRIGHT,  1922,  BY 
ALFRED  A.  KNOPF,  Inc. 

Pvblished,  July,  19S3 


Bet  up  and  printed  by  the  Vail-Ballou  Co.,  Binghamton,  N.  Y. 
Paper  furnished  by  W.  F.  Etherington  &  Co.,  New  York,  N.  Y. 
Bound  by  the  H.  Woltl  Estate,  New  York,  N.  Y. 


MANUFACTURED     IN     THE     UNITED     STATES     OF    AMERICA 


TO 
MY  TRAVELING  COMPAJNION 


PAQB 


CONTENTS 

Kerensky's  Summer  in  Petrograd,  9 

At  the  Railway  Station  of  Vitebsk,  15 

Russian  Court  Martial,  25 

The  Bolshevik  in  the  Province,  35 

Village  Bolshevism,  51 

Russian  Cavalry,  66 

Galician  Jews,  78 

Cederblom,  94 

Dr.  Diamond,  107 

Hapsburg  Officers,  123 

The  Red  Garden,  138 

Russian  Bourgeoisie,  160 

Alexander  and  Ivan,  176 

The  Flight  Through  Siberia,  189 


r 


Kerensky^s  Summer  in  Petrograd 

'^fN  the  beginnmg  was  the  Word!"  Never  has  the 
word  played  such  a  role  as  it  did  in  the  hearts 
of  the  people  of  Petrograd  during  the  summer 
of  1917.  Kerensky,  the  man  who  won  his  fame  on 
the  rostrum  of  the  Duma,  was  the  hero  of  this  sum- 
mer, its  chief  speaker.  The  Revolution's  Hydra  de- 
voured its  own  heads  with  its  final,  last  and  only  one: 
Kerensky's,  True  to  its  need  of  a  radical  solution, 
Russia,  in  a  great  wave  of  feeling,  washed  away  all 
revolutionary  stages.  Convention  and  regicide  they 
would  have  none  of,  hut  they  demanded  their  Napo- 
leon at  once,  and,  strong  in  the  people's  faith,  Keren- 
sky  cultivated  a  vertical  wrinkle  between  his  brows 
and  had  photographs  taken  with  his  hand  hidden  in 
his  breast.  His  career  was  as  senseless  as  the  en- 
thusiasm that  created  it.  In  two  months  Minister, 
Premier,  Commander-in-Chief  of  the  forces  on  land 
and  sea:  Dictator.  But  it  was  too  much  for  Kerensky, 
he  swayed  in  his  role  as  a  child  in  leading  strings. 
He  grasped  at  history  so  as  not  to  fall:  I  can  see  him 
sitting,  drunken  for  want  of  sleep,  turning  the  pages 
of  his  books  to  conjure  up  the  spirit  of  the  Emperor 
in  support  of  his  technique. 

But  the  only  real  Kerensky  was  the  orator.  Only 
when  speaking  did  he  exist,  then  he  was  Caesar  to 
himself  and  the  throng.     Gradually  as  his  nervous- 


10  The  Red  Garden 

t  •  I  ■  II  I.  — ■ 

ness  grew,  he  spoke  more  and  more,  until  at  last  he 
spoke  all  the  time:  from  windows,  from  balconies  and 
church  doors,  from  automobiles  and  at  theatres,  for 
Ministers,  diplomats,  delegations,  soldiers,  man  and 
beast.  He  spoke  with  antique  calm,  staccato  as  Na- 
poleon, harmonious  as  the  Russian  who  draws  his 
sentences  out  of  his  throat  with  the  dexterity  of  a 
sleight-of-hand  artist,  and  then  passionately  and 
feverishly  as  Kerensky,  and  at  last  screaming  hoarsely 
and  cutting  off  his  words,  his  face  yellow  and  dis- 
torted as  a  sick  man's.  He  had  long  ago  dropped  his 
mask,  and  his  hand  raging  in  the  air  vied  with  his 
voice. 

The  Russian  loves  oratory  and  he  loves  to  make 
speeches  himself.  Does  not  "Slav''  originally  mean 
"the  talkers,"  the  opposite  of  "Njemtsi"  (the  Ger- 
mans) "the  dumb"?  In  three  months  his  enthusi- 
asm for  Kerensky  was,  as  we  say,  boundless.  But  in 
reality  it  was  brain  fever,  a  holy  frenzy  in  which  the 
nation  talked  their  tongues  dry.  To  a  Dane,  popu- 
larity poured  out  in  such  dimensions,  is  like  a  display 
of  natural  powers.  Words  flowed  from  Kerensky's 
lips  out  over  the  land  and  sent  new  words  into  the 
world.  They  spread  in  milliards  before  the  street 
corner  winds,  vanished  in  the  cigarette  smoke 
of  the  cafes  and  were  aired  out  with  the  exhalations 
of  Pullman  cars.  The  newspapers  printed  them  in 
blackface  and  capitals,  spaced  and  half -spaced,  small 
and  ordinary  type,  and  threw  them  out  on  the  market 
in  bundles  that  were  taller  than  the  boys  that  sold 


Kerensky^s  Summer  in  Petrograd      11 

them.  Hundreds  of  people  fought  and  tugged  at  each 
other  to  get  a  paper.  They  went  from  dealer  to 
dealer  to  get  all,  as  if  they  had  never  read  before. 
And  in  a  certain  sense  they  hadn't.  That  which  was 
worth  reading  in  the  old  Russian  press  was  between 
the  lines  and  therefore  escaped  the  casual  reader. 
Skill  was  needed  to  write  it  and  a  clear  head  to  inter- 
pret it.  But  now  words  had  been  liberated  and  the 
very  ones  that  had  been  the  most  fettered  were  now 
used  most  frequently.  People  nearly  lost  their  eyes 
staring  at  these  words,  that  only  four  months  ago 
would  have  brought  about  the  suppression  of  the 
paper  and  life  imprisonment  in  damp  Schliisselburg 
for  the  editor  and  his  associates.  People  took  pos- 
session of  these  words,  played  with  them,  rolled  them 
on  their  tongues,  and  tried  their  worth  as  sounds  and 
outcries,  as  ideas,  arguments  and  abuse.  The  illiter- 
ate got  the  papers  read  to  them  by  the  more  knowing 
who  kept  track  of  the  lines  with  their  forefinger  and 
the  still  more  learned  afterwards  expounded  the  text 
to  its  smallest  detail.     It  was  an  orgy! — 

Summer  is  never  more  summer  than  when  a  storm 
rises  blue-black  on  the  horizon.  Under  Petrograd's 
colourless  sky  a  low  thunder  rumbled  incessantly. 
All  could  hear  and  yet  they  didn't,  as  is  true  of  all 
monotonous  sound.  But  its  result  was  bivouacked  in 
the  consciousness  as  a  dull  expectation. 

At  Haparanda  on  the  Finnish  border  the  exiles  con- 
tinued to  stream  back  into  Russia.  Every  train  up 
through  the  Northland  had  during  that  summer  its 


12  The  Red  Garden 

flock  of  Russian  revolutionists,  whom  one  could  not 
mistake  amid  the  Entente  diplomats  and  delega- 
tions and  the  ordinary  adventurers  and  travellers. 
Napoleon's  Old  Guard  was  a  Corps  but  this  was  no 
less  so  and  the  uniform  they  were  known  by  was  the 
fire  of  the  eyes,  the  bright  ashen  pallor  of  the  skin 
through  the  dark  stubble,  the  thick  lips,  the  hooked 
nose.  Already  in  Russian  Tomea  they  began  their 
work.  They  were  arrested,  and  held  speeches  for 
their  guards.  They  spoke  of  their  long  exile  in 
foreign  lands,  about  the  new  world  order,  of  the 
Revolution  in  danger,  of  that  which  must  not  be  for- 
gotten; of  that  which  must  be  done  at  once.  The 
women  talked  eagerly  and  wildly.  When  they  had 
been  detained  a  few  hours  or  days  they  were  let  go 
again,  for  the  Englishmen  stationed  up  there,  well, 
they  didn't  understand  what  was  said,  they  were  so 
used  to  all  Russians  being  crazy;  and  the  Russians 
felt  that  the  strangers  spoke  well  and  there  was  no 
doubt  that  they  were  right  but  it  was  dangerous  to 
listen  to.  Why,  the  safety  of  the  frontier  was  likely 
to  be  threatened.  So  they  let  them  go  their  way. 
They  had  turned  the  first  spadeful. 

The  demonstrations  continued  in  Petrograd.  The 
masses  had  learned  to  like  them  during  the  revolution 
in  February.  At  first  the  Russians  found  enjoyment 
enough  in  flocking  together.  It  was  something  new, 
this  going  by  thousands  down  the  middle  of  the 
thoroughfare  without  needing  to  fear  the  Cossacks' 
nagaika  at  the  end  of  the  street.     I  have  seen  hundreds 


Kerensky^s  Summer  in  Petrograd      13 

of  these  citizen-and-soldier  processions,  with  white, 
red  or  black  banners,  but  otherwise  not  easy  to  differ- 
entiate; unceasingly  they  pass  by,  these  faces,  blue, 
unseeing  eyes  lost  in  the  vegetative  pleasure  of  mere 
walking.  Does  the  animal  predominate  in  these 
features  as  in  those  adults  who  have  remained  in  the 
state  of  childhood?  Or  is  it  the  childlike,  as  in  small 
children  whose  intellect  has  not  yet  wakened?  Im- 
penetrable riddle — never  solved  by  him  who  has  lived 
among  the  Russian  peasantry  and  cursed  them  daily 
while  his  heart  was  overflowing  with  tender  pleasure 
in  them. 

At  the  head  of  the  demonstrators  was  the  music — 
The  Russians  will  not  march  without  a  brass  band.  It 
played  the  Marseillaise  in  season  and  out,  but  not  in 
French,  that  would  have  gone  poorly  with  the  Russian 
marching  cadence,  no,  the  Marseillaise  had  become 
the  Russian  national  hymn.  At  night  it  was  this  Mar- 
seillaise that  I  heard  before  I  went  to  sleep  and  the 
morning  breeze  bore  it  through  the  windows  when  I 
woke,  now  roaring  nearby — ^now  bits  of  it  from  distant 
streets,  but  always  slow,  as  slow  as  if  it  were  a  dirge. 

In  the  evening  I  often  went  out  to  Kamennij  Ostrof. 
Here  was  the  zoological  park,  at  that  time  swarming 
with  people,  back  of  the  Fortress  of  Peter  and  Paul. 
And  here  lived  Lenin  in  the  Kjesinsky  palace;  I  was 
told  that  it  had  belonged  to  a  ballet  dancer,  the  Tsar's 
mistress;  now  it  was  Bolsheviki  headquarters.  A 
half  army  corps  of  soldiers,  deserters  and  recruits  lay 
and  stood  and  walked  about  in  the  garden  and  the 


14  The  Red  Garden 

court-yard,    dawdling,    loafing,    waiting.     Curiosity 
had  brought  us  there,  botli  them  and  me. 

They  waited  apathetically  for  something  to  happen, 
which  almost  never  did.  Very  few  of  them  were 
armed,  but  there  was  a  number  of  sailors,  dashing 
fellows  with  smoothly-shaven  skulls;  they  were  al- 
ways clean  and  smart  in  comparison  with  the  troops  of 
the  line.  The  windows  on  the  ground  floor  stood  open 
and  some  naked  rooms  could  be  seen,  where  a  pair  of 
swarthy  youths  sat  at  a  type-writer.  The  floor  was 
littered  with  the  husks  of  sun-flower  seeds.  Since 
then  the  sun-flower  seed  has  gone  its  victorious  way 
over  all  the  parquet  floors  of  Russia.  The  man  who 
came  unknown  to  Russia  and  moved  into  the  ballet 
dancer's  palace  swept  Kerensky  away  from  the  Tsar's 
writing  desk  and  down  the  stairs  of  history.  While  it 
was  summer  in  Petrograd  and  Kerensky  talked,  Lenin 
sat  in  darkness  and  enveloped  himself  in  a  myth. 
When  folk  no  longer  believe  in  God,  they  still  hang  on 
to  the  Devil.  The  Russian  people  had  let  the  Tsar 
fall  and  had  clamoured  for  freedom.  Led  by  an  un- 
swerving religious  instinct,  it  threw  itself  in  the  dust 
before  Lenin  and  he  put  his  foot  on  its  neck. 


At  the  Railway  Station  of  Vitebsk 

IN  January,  1918, 1  travelled  to  South  Russia  for  the 
Danish  Embassy  to  negotiate  with  the  Ukrain- 
ian Rada  at  Kiev. 
I  departed  from  the  embassy  during  a  delightful 
snowfall  at  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon.  Petrograd 
is  never  more  beautiful  than  when  it  is  full  of  new- 
fallen  snow  and  the  sky  is  hidden  by  a  woolly  gloom 
which  is  snow  that  has  not  yet  fallen.  My  train  was  to 
leave  from  Nikolajski  Vaksal  a  little  before  six  but  I 
was  forced  to  wait  nearly  five  hours  and  my  feet  sang 
with  the  cold.  I  had  reservations  for  the  so-called 
"Staff  Car,"  but  I  could  not  bring  myself  to  leave  and 
go  into  the  waiting  room  because  I  knew  that  those  who 
came  too  late,  would  have  to  be  content  with  the  ac- 
commodations in  the  aisle.  Gradually  over  a  thou- 
sand people  gathered  and  shivered  from  cold  and 
stamped  their  feet  on  the  frozen  asphalt.  It  struck  me 
that  those  whom  I  judged  had  reservations  for  the  spe- 
cial car  appeared  to  be  the  most  anxious.  The  others 
who  knew  that  in  any  case  they  would  have  to  ride  one 
on  top  of  the  other  were  more  unconcerned.  The  wait- 
ing soldiers  formed  groups  and  proclaimed  to  each 
other  the  fixed  and  settled  political  conviction  that  was 
theirs  today,  even  though  they  could  do  nothing  but 
shout  a  name:  Kerensky,  Nikola j,  Lenin  and  Trotsky. 

15 


16  The  Red  Garden 

But  it  was  fully  as  amusing  to  see  two  joyous  dancers, 
who,  to  the  music  of  an  accordion  and  squatting  on 
their  haunches,  kicked  their  legs  out  from  under  them 
and  vied  with  one  another  and  laughed  and  sweated 
despite  twelve  degrees  of  freezing.  It  was  a  Czardas 
and  a  breath  of  the  old  Russia  which  has  now  hidden 
its  face. 

And  when  finally  about  ten  o'clock  the  train  came 
sliding  into  the  platform,  the  human  waves  were  such 
that  it  was  an  impossibility  to  keep  one's  feet.  All  had 
seized  their  bundles,  knapsacks  and  teakettles;  they 
rushed  to  meet  the  train  and  conquered  it  before  it 
came  to  a  stop.  Luckily  the  reserved  car  had  alert 
guards  with  fixed  bayonets.  A  Bolshevik  Command- 
ant parleyed  with  the  seat-seekers  holding  a  revolver 
in  his  hand.  But  what  a  relief  it  was  to  get  inside  and 
find  room  and  discover  that  the  compartment  was 
heated!  How  trivial  everything  else  seemed,  espe- 
cially the  fight  outside!  /  was  along,  and  was  utterly 
indifferent  whether  we  came  to  Kiev  in  two  days  or 
ten,  knowing  that  I  was  lying  in  an  upper  berth  and 
could  feel  the  warmth  creeping  back  into  my  toes. 

The  next  day  I  made  the  acquaintance  of  my  fellow 
travellers,  an  elderly  Russian  from  Dvinsk,  a  Pole  and 
a  barely  twenty-year-old  Jew  just  home  from  exile  in 
a  threadbare  suit  of  blue  cheviot  and  broken  boots,  but 
with  eyes  that  were  fire.  He  was  an  Under-Commissar 
in  the  food  distribution  bureau  at  Petrograd,  he  said. 
We  four  had  the  compartment  as  far  as  Mogilov,  staff 


At  the  Railway  Station  of  Vitebsk      17 

headquarters  where  Krylenko  now  resided  after  the 
murder  of  General  Dukonin.  The  "Staff  Car"  went 
no  further  but,  enough  for  the  day — 

The  conversation  turned  to  commonplaces  now  that 
events  had  closed  the  political  discussion  and  Power 
once  more  talked  solo  in  a  new  concise  language. 
But  we  seemed  to  get  along  very  well  together.  The 
Russian  made  tea,  the  Commissar  furnished  sugar, 
the  Pole  offered  cigarettes  and  I  cut  up  a  roast  chicken 
from  the  embassy  kitchen.  And  as  a  stranger  I  was 
the  only  one  who  could  engage  in  a  more  serious  con- 
versation with  my  fellow-travellers  when  I  got  them 
alone  in  the  aisle  outside,  or  occasionally  in  the  com- 
partment while  the  others  played  "Preference,"  the 
Russian's  favorite  game,  in  an  adjoining  one.  The 
Pole  entertained  me  in  polite  French;  everything  he 
said  was  of  a  very  secret  and  weltpolitik  nature  but 
as  he  was  Polish  I  did  not  exert  myself  to  remember 
what  it  was  all  about.  With  the  Commissar  I  dis- 
cussed Imperialism  and  Communism;  he  also  spoke 
French.  He  was  very  courteous  but  there  was  a  tone 
in  his  voice  that  reduced  argumentation  to  a  matter  of 
secondary  importance  and  although  he  spoke  far  from 
candidly  it  seems  to  me  that  it  amounted  to  this:  We 
Bolsheviki  hate  and  we  have  the  upper  hand  here  and 
we  mean  to  use  our  power  and  we  shall  get  it  elsewhere 
too  and  we  won't  fail  to  break  the  necks  of  all  who 
oppose  us,  and  gladly  yours  too,  but  everything  is  so 
very  clear,  don't  you  think:  the  Party  is  straightfor- 


18  The  Red  Garden 

ward  and  unmasked,  and  those  who  won't  die,  can 
fight — There  are  many  types  of  Bolsheviki,  but  this  is 
the  real  and  dangerous  one. 

I  sat  alone  with  the  Russian  one  dark  afternoon, 
while  the  train  slowly  rumbled  over  the  flat  White 
Russia  plain  that  was  as  wintry  white  as  its  name  and 
disconsolately  desolate.  I  could  only  talk  to  him 
with  difficulty,  for  at  that  time  I  knew  very  little 
Russian  but  neither  was  he  very  communicative.  And 
yet  he  could  not  control  his  emotions  but  talked  in  a 
choked  voice  of  the  great  Russia  that  had  fallen.  The 
tears  rolled  down  his  cheeks.  Never  among  all  the 
Russians  I  have  met  have  I  loved  Russia  more  than 
in  this  middle-aged  man,  about  whom  I  knew  nothing 
but  who  sat  here  in  the  dusk  and  wept  before  me,  a 
stranger.  Is  there  any  sorrow  deeper  than  that  of  a 
plain  man  weeping  for  his  country? 

We  came  to  Vitebsk  in  the  afternoon  of  the  second 
day  after  a  tedious  journey.  The  Commissar  and  I 
went  in  the  station  for  something  to  eat.  The  way  was 
very  difficult,  first  up  over  a  bridge  and  then  down 
through  a  long  tunnel.  Although  there  was  every  pos- 
sibility that  the  train  would  not  leave  for  several  hours 
and  maybe  not  until  far  into  the  night,  I  was  very  un- 
easy and  to  be  on  the  safe  side  I  took  my  fur  coat 
along  with  me.  Taken  all  together,  I  have  spent  over 
four  months  on  Russian  railways  and  have  never 
missed  a  train,  but  never  have  I  been  able  to  get  rid 
of  this  nervousness. 

The  waiting  room  at  Vitebsk  offered  a  sight  that  can 


At  the  Railway  Station  of  Vitebsk      19 

never  be  made  real  for  him  who  has  not  seen  Russia. 
First  that  smell  of  leather  and  vile  cigarette-tobacco, 
Mahorka,  which  has  as  its  chief  ingredient  the  stalks 
of  the  tobacco  plant.  An  atmosphere  that  for  the 
moment  changes  the  surroundings  to  a  dream  in 
which  the  individual  plays  only  an  unimportant  role, 
but  which  now — in  reminiscence — has  also  been 
changed  to  poesy  from  a  distant  land.  The  entire 
third  class  waiting  room  was  unbelievably  full  of 
soldiers.  It  would  have  been  impossible  to  go 
through  if  one  had  not  pressed  forward  without  re- 
gard for  the  sleeping  men  and  their  bundles.  But 
they  did  not  stir;  it  takes  more  to  wake  a  Russian. 

Mass  was  being  said  in  the  corner  of  the  room  be- 
fore a  large  image  and  many  small  ones.  A  pope 
chanted  with  his  face  turned  to  the  ikon.  The  two  big 
candles  fluttered  softly  in  their  giant  candlesticks. 
The  priest  was  clad  in  a  gold-worked  chasuble  and 
his  long  soft  Christ-hair  billowed  over  his  shoulders; 
"Gospodi,  Gospodi  .  .  ."  he  sang,  and  a  half  dozen 
soldiers  with  fat,  red  faces  crossed  themselves  de- 
voutly when  they  heard  the  Lord's  name.  Noth- 
ing would  do  for  one  of  them  but  that  he  must  down 
on  his  knees  and  kneel  in  the  dust  and  dirt  and  sun- 
flower husks. 

In  the  first  class  waiting  room,  where  the  refresh- 
ments were,  things  were  not  much  better.  Every 
seat  was  taken.  Other  soldiers  and  officers,  easily 
recognizable  by  their  torn-off"  insignia  and  the  cloth 
and  cut  of  their  uniforms,  stood  behind  each  chair 


20  The  Red  Garden 

and  waited  their  turn.  The  side  tables  and  benches 
were  crowded  with  sleeping  persons  but  in  front  of 
them  and  on  top  of  them  were  others  who  ate.  And 
under  the  benches  more  soldiers  were  asleep.  It 
seems  impossible,  but  nothing  is  impossible  when  one 
must  sleep. 

We  placed  ourselves  at  a  side  table  where  it  looked 
as  if  there  might  be  room.  The  waiters  bored  their 
way  through  the  eager  crowd,  greasy,  sweating  and 
shouting  for  room  for  the  platters  of  piping  hot  soup 
and  the  ordinary  Russian  buffet  dishes  of  roast  goose 
and  sucking  pig.  The  whole  place  was  enveloped  in 
a  damp  fog  from  the  food  and  the  steam  from  the 
new-comers  who  brought  the  cold  in  with  them.  The 
two  long  tables  in  the  middle  of  the  room  were  a 
chaos  of  feeding  heads,  steaming  dishes,  green  plants, 
refuse  and  tableware  that  might  easily  have  been  sil- 
ver, at  least  I  have  so  seen  it  elsewhere,  for  example, 
at  Jekaterinburg,  shortly  after  the  murder  of  the 
Tsar's  family  and  the  flight  of  the  Bolsheviki.  Silver 
is  no  precious  metal  in  Russia.  In  the  background 
could  be  seen  the  buff"et  with  its  array  of  all  sorts  of 
empty  bottles,  a  sad  reminder  of  the  good  old  days 
when  you  could  meet  in  the  waiting  room  and  slake 
your  thirst  with  a  multitude  of  international  drinks 
and  liqueurs  before  the  bell  rang  and  you  went  back 
to  the  sleeping  car  and  there  partook  of  caviar  and 
other  good  Zakuska  and  real  Vodka.  On  a  separate 
table  stood  the  restaurant's  Samovar;  it  was  impos- 


At  the  Railway  Station  of  Vitebsk      21 

.  — - — ■ ' 

sible  not  to  see  it,  it  held  water  enough  for  three 
hundred  glasses  of  tea  and  had  to  be  brought  to  the 
boiling  point  every  half  hour  during  the  rush  periods. 
The  glasses  were  filled  in  a  hurry  and  there  was  no 
such  thing  as  washing  them. 

We  had  given  the  waiter  a  three  ruble  note  and  as 
soon  as  possible  he  waved  away  two  soldiers  who  had 
finished  eating  and  we  sat  down  on  the  further  end  of 
the  bench.  Some  seven  or  eight  persons  were  still  at 
the  table.  On  the  bench  on  the  other  side  of  the  table 
a  sailor  was  sleeping  or  seemed  to  sleep.  But  no  one 
bothered  him.  When  we  had  gotten  our  soup,  a 
young  dark-haired  officer  just  as  handsome  and  dis- 
tinguished as  a  Russian  officer  can  be,  was  given  a 
seat  directly  opposite  the  man.  Sitting  upright,  the 
sailor  laid  his  elbows  on  the  table  and  with  an  evil 
look  at  the  officer,  began  to  pick  his  teeth.  The  latter 
did  not  look  at  him. 

When  the  waiter  had  brought  the  young  officer  his 
soup,  I  could  see  that  something  or  other  rose  in  the 
sailor.  He  still  stared  at  the  officer  but  certain  work- 
ings that  came  and  went  across  his  features  told  of  a 
plan  that  he  was  turning  over  in  his  mind.  The 
officer  was  absolutely  unconcerned.  Not  the  slightest 
movement  in  his  face  or  the  least  change  in  his  colour 
showed  that  he  was  annoyed.  He  made  no  attempt 
to  ignore  the  sailor;  he  was  as  calm  as  if  he  were 
unaware  of  the  coarse,  hulking  fellow  who  was  trying 
to  stare  him  out  of  countenance.     I  felt  my  face  grow 


22  The  Red  Garden 

clammy  and  thought  lo  myself:  you  are  deathly  pale. 

The  officer  had  begun  to  eat  and  as  the  sailor  made 
a  slight  movement  of  impatience,  I  thought;  now  it's 
coming;  he's  going  to  spit  in  the  soup. 

With  a  quick,  abrupt  gesture  the  sailor  put  his  hand 
to  his  head  and  pulling  out  two  hairs,  he  reached  over 
the  table  and  let  them  fall  in  the  officer's  soup.  He 
did  it  without  hurrying,  almost  lingeringly,  and  a  hid- 
den smile  played  about  his  mouth.  The  young  officer 
did  not  try  to  stop  him  but  merely  looked  up  and  met 
his  enemy's  eyes.  The  sailor  leisurely  lit  a  cigarette 
and  looked  away. 

The  officer  ordered  another  plate  of  soup.  No  one 
at  the  table  said  a  word  while  he  waited.  My  Com- 
missar was  red  in  the  face  and  his  look  told  me  that 
this  was  a  case  of  lying  low.  I  was  the  last  man  on 
the  bench  and  four  would  have  to  rise  before  I  could 
get  out.  I  hesitated,  and  while  I  did  so  the  waiter 
brought  the  officer  a  fresh  plate  of  soup. 

He  began  to  eat  as  if  nothing  had  happened.  The 
sailor  repeated  his  action  and  again  let  several  hairs 
fall  into  the  soup.  As  before,  the  officer  made  no  at- 
tempt to  hinder  him,  but  he  was  pale  as  he  looked  up 
and  there  was  a  bright  gleam  in  his  eyes. 

"I  regret,  Gdspada,"  he  said  in  a  melodious  voice 
and  with  an  easy  bow  to  the  table,  but  without  looking 
at  us,  "that  it's  necessary  for  me  to  disturb  you." 

And  before  we  knew  what  was  coming  ...  he 
already  had  the  revolver  in  his  hand  ...  he  shot  the 


At  the  Railway  Station  of  Vitebsk      23 

sailor.  I  heard  the  report  and  heard  the  bullet  enter 
and  the  sailor's  head  hit  against  the  wall.  He  sat 
there  for  a  minute  with  outstretched  arms ;  in  one  hand 
he  held  a  Browning  pistol,  and  there  where  his  right 
eye  had  been  was  a  ghastly  pool  of  blood  and  shreds 
that  ran  down  his  face. 

While  we  still,  horrorstricken,  stared  at  the  body, 
there  came  a  second  shot  and  the  officer  sank  down  on 
the  bench.  He  had  shot  himself  in  the  temple  and  the 
wound  bled  only  slightly.  His  cap  had  fallen  off 
and  we  could  see  his  dark-brown,  well-combed  and 
rather  glistening  hair.  His  head  had  fallen  on  his 
breast  and  for  a  Russian  waiting  room  with  its  many 
sleeping  people  there  was  hardly  anything  unnatural 
in  his  position.  But  directly  across  from  him  was  the 
frightful,  stiffening  corpse  of  the  sailor  with  its  gap- 
ing bloody  hole  in  the  eye  socket. 

What  happened  afterward  is  not  just  clear  to  me. 
People  jumped  up,  armed  soldiers  came,  a  comman- 
dant asked  questions,  we  showed  credentials,  and  the 
bodies  were  carried  out.  But  by  that  time  a  number 
had  already  seated  themselves  and  continued  eating. 
Only  the  nearby  and  some  women  pressed  forward 
to  see  what  had  taken  place. 

The  Commissar  was  not  long  in  settling  things  with 
the  commandant  and  the  two  of  us  made  our  way  back 
to  the  train.  I  was  too  shaken  to  notice  how  the  scene 
had  affected  him,  and  in  the  short  time  we  were  still 
together  we  exchanged  no   words   about  it.     But   I 


24  The  Red  Garden 

have  retained  the  impression  that  he  had  me  by  the 
arm  and  led  me  in  a  manner  as  tender  and  friendly  as 
if  I  were  a  little  child. 

The  train  left  an  hour  after  and  in  the  evening  of 
the  next  day  we  were  in  Mogilov,  where  we  parted,  and 
where  I  changed  cars. 


Russian  Court  Martial 

IN  February,  1918,  I  was  in  Kiev.  I  was  unable 
to  make  my  way  out  of  the  city  until  the  third 
day  after  Maravief's  troops  had  dislodged  the 
Ukrainians  under  Petljura.  They  were  memorable 
days  of  murder  and  pillage,  of  heavy  bombardment 
and  of  many  corpses  in  the  streets.  Afterwards,  for 
another  seventy-two  hours,  sinister  carts  with  dirty 
tarpaulin  covers  rumbled  over  the  pavements. 
Above  the  sides,  arms  and  bluish  white  feet  protruded, 
both  naked  and  in  under-drawers.  In  spite  of  the 
hasty  trot,  they  retained  an  unnatural  stiffness  loath- 
some to  see. 

The  Commissar  of  Civil  Affairs  received  in  the 
imperial  yellow  place,  situated  on  one  of  the  city's 
hills,  far  above  the  valley  of  the  Dneiper.  During 
the  war  it  had  been  the  residence  of  Maria  Fyodor- 
ovna.  In  order  to  get  in,  we  had  to  go  through  the 
courtyard  and  pass  the  queue  of  many  thousands  of 
people  who  were  stamping  their  cold  feet  in  the  melt- 
ing snow  and  among  the  bodies  of  forty-five  Ukrain- 
ian students  and  volunteers.  They  had  been  ex- 
ecuted early  in  the  morning,  and  obviously  with  steel, 
rifle  butts  and  pistol  shots.  They  lay  where  they  had 
sunk  to  the  ground  in  their  last  dash  for  life. 

The  queue  continued  into  the  palace  through  long 
corridors  and  several  large  rooms.     The  people  were 

still  a  prison  grey  from  fear  and  cellar  life.     To  my 

25 


26  The  Red  Garden 

surprise  I  recognized  under  a  tattered  military  ulster 
an  eighteen-year-old  Adonis  from  the  Polish  Legion, 
whom  I  had  last  seen  flirting  with  his  own  fantasti- 
cally uniformed  reflection  in  the  dining  room  mirrors 
of  the  Hotel  Cosmopolite.  Those  who  were  waiting 
set  up  a  howl  when  I  tried  to  pass  without  taking  my 
turn,  but  my  guide  repeated  monotonously:  "Way, 
paschaV sta,  for  the  Danish  Embassy,  be  so  good  as  to 
make  way!"  In  the  innermost  room,  which  was 
chokingly  hot  and  crowded  to  overflowing,  Tschudof- 
skij  sat  at  a  big  writing  table,  and  near  him  three  or 
four  small,  plump  Jewesses  clattered  away  at  their 
Underwoods  until  it  seemed  that  their  fingers  would 
fall  off"  in  the  eff"ort  to  satisfy  the  demand  for  the  new 
identification  papers  that  Tschudofskij  without  look- 
ing signed  as  fast  as  they  were  put  before  him. 

Tschudofskij  himself  was  a  big,  handsome  Jew, 
about  thirty  years  of  age.  He  had  kind  brown  eyes; 
his  hair  was  thick  and  long,  and  his  face  pale  from 
over-exertion  and  bad  air.  His  cheeks  had  red  fever 
spots.  He  hadn't  shaved  for  several  days,  and  his 
voice  had  dwindled  to  a  hoarse  whisper.  If  he  let 
himself  go,  he  would  fall  asleep  on  the  desk  at  once. 
Although  a  Jew,  he  was  enough  of  a  Russian  not  to 
finish  one  thing  at  a  time,  but  jumped  from  conversa- 
tion to  conversation,  always  receptive  to  the  interrup- 
tions of  the  nearest  bystanders.  "At  once,  Tavar- 
isch,"  he  said  to  me.  My  guide  persisted.  "The 
Danish  Consul,"  Tschudofskij  repeated  mechanically, 
and  turned  to  me.     "I  speak  ver'  good  Danish,"  be 


Russian  Court  Martial  27 

, I 

interrupted  me.  He  had  lived  eight  months  in  Copen- 
hagen in  Landmaerket.  He  was  willing  to  give  me  a 
paper  that  would  guarantee  my  safety,  but  travelling 
permits  he  had  nothing  to  do  with.  But  he  would 
give  me  a  letter  to  a  friend  of  his  on  the  staff.  One 
of  the  little  secretaries  took  the  letter  from  a  dictation 
that  constantly  threatened  to  drown  in  a  deluge  of 
queries  and  answers.  At  last  it  was  ready  for  his 
signature.  "Go  along  Lutheranskaja.  You  will  find 
the  staff  straight  ahead  on  the  Kretschatik."  For  a 
second  his  feverish  eyes  dwelt  upon  me,  then  the 
queue  boiled  over  him  again.  But  we  toiled  back 
through  the  rows  of  waiting  people,  past  rifle  stacks 
and  machine  guns  in  the  vestibule,  over  snoring 
soldiers  and  out  into  the  spring  sun  that  shone  on  the 
yellow  palace  and  the  blue  domes  of  Kiev,  on  the  ice- 
bright  ribbon  of  the  river,  and  on  the  corpses  in  their 
blood. 

In  the  evening  I  got  away  by  the  first  train  the  Bol- 
sheviki  sent  away  from  Kiev  to  Moscow  after  their 
conquest.  It  was  to  leave  about  ten  o'clock  from  the 
freight  station,  as  the  Central  Railway  station  still 
was  a  chaos  of  charred  cars  and  other  confusion.  I 
took  a  droshky,  but  when  we  got  outside  the  city  and 
still  had  some  distance  to  go,  the  driver  stopped  and 
would  go  no  further.  It  was  too  dark,  he  said.  So 
I  had  to  pick  up  my  bag  and  follow  the  tracks. 
While  I  was  crawling  back  and  forth  among  the 
rows  of  cars,  I  collided,  literally,  with  a  man,  who 
turned  out  to  be  a  Russian  journalist,  who  had  also 


28  The  Red  Garden 

decided  to  take  a  chance.  Finally  we  managed  to 
make  our  way  to  the  Commandant  of  the  station. 
He  congratulated  us  on  being  still  alive.  Every 
night,  people  had  been  killed  by  the  marauders  who 
roved  around  under  cover  of  darkness,  and  had  their 
lairs  among  the  many  thousands  of  cars.  He  had 
last  night's  bodies  near  at  hand  to  show  us,  if  we 
wanted  to  see  them. 

He  was  also  obliging  in  other  ways  and  gave  us 
seats  in  a  small  special  coach  that  was  to  take  two 
high  railway  officials  to  Kursk.  All  night  the  train 
was  being  made  up  in  a  way  that  involuntarily  caused 
us  to  collect  our  thoughts  and  consider  the  nearest 
danger.  Several  times  we  flew  horizontally  out  of 
our  berths  and  fell  on  the  floor  before  we  learned  to 
remain  lying  there.  Toward  morning  the  train 
started.  I  heard  a  rattling  of  iron,  it  was  the  long 
.  bridge  over  the  Dneiper  river  and  swamps,  and  I  felt 
I  had  escaped. 

The  next  forenoon  I  was  awakened  by  the  fact  that 
the  train  had  not  moved  for  some  time.  I  tumbled 
out.  It  was  a  still,  frosty  day  with  sunshine  on  the 
fresh  snow.  We  were  at  a  little  Rasiest  or  siding, 
about  a  hundred  kilometers  from  Kiev.  My  travel- 
ling companion  was  already  outside  and  talking  with 
two  lumber  men.  Our  car  seemed  to  be  the  cause 
of  the  trouble.  It  had  reached  the  limit  of  its  useful- 
ness during  the  night  and  now  threatened  to  derail  the 
whole  train.  It  was  therefore  uncoupled  and  prob- 
ably is  still  standing  where  we  left  it.     It  was  the  only 


Russian  Court  Martial  29 


decent  coach  in  the  train,  which,  as  we  discovered, 
was  only  a  feeler  for  one  which  was  going  to  follow 
with  commissars  and  military,  also  going  to  Moscow. 
Hence  our  whole  train  consisted  of  troop  cars  that 
were  filled  with  chance  joy-riders  who  were  travelling 
free  of  charge.  With  real  sorrow  we  left  our  little 
coach  where  we  had  private  sleeping  berths  and 
a  salon  with  table  and  horse-hair  sofa,  to  camp  in  a 
box-car  among  Tavarisches  and  Mujiks,  deserters  and 
peasant  women.  However,  they  willingly  gave  us 
the  best  places,  after  their  first  natural  sulkiness  at 
this  addition  to  the  company  had  died  down,  and  ex- 
empted us  from  tending  the  fire,  and  in  other  ways 
showed  themselves  to  possess  unchangeable  good 
nature. 

Not  until  the  next  morning  did  we  reach  Kursk, 
where  there  was  a  stop  of  twelve  hours.  While  we 
were  waiting,  an  uproar  arose  in  a  car  a  little  further 
ahead  in  the  train.  The  cause  of  it  was  a  peasant 
woman  who  with  marvellous  vocal  display  was  ac- 
cusing a  soldier  of  having  stolen  a  hundred  ruble  note 
— zarskij  djengi — from  her.  I  drew  near  the  car. 
A  large  mob  of  the  curious  and  of  Red  Guards  from 
the  station  watch  had  already  gathered  around  it. 
Suddenly  the  door  to  the  telegraph  office  in  the  station 
was  wrenched  open  and  a  Bolshevik  officer,  easily 
recognizable,  despite  his  lack  of  shoulder  straps, 
by  his  fine  military  equipment,  bore  down  on  us 
across  the  tracks,  hurriedly  buckling  his  long  black 
cavalry  sabre  around  him. 


30  The  Red  Garden 

He  parted  the  assembled  throng  by  the  sheer  force 
of  his  expression  of  armed  severity.  "What's  going 
on  here?  I,  the  Commandant  of  Stanzia  Kursk,  com- 
mand immediate  silence!"  he  shouted  in  the  face  of 
the  peasant  woman  who  hadn't  ceased  accusing  her 
fellow  traveller  of  the  theft.  "Arrest  those  two,"  he 
added. 

The  soldiers  took  the  pair  between  them,  and  we  all 
made  our  way  to  the  station  building.  The  inquiry 
was  commenced  in  the  Commandant's  office.  The 
entire  room  and  the  hall  outside  was  full  of  people. 
The  Commandant's  voice  sharply  cut  off  all  unneces- 
sary talk.  It  was  plain  that  the  witnesses  were 
against  the  soldier.  They  pointed  their  fingers  at 
him;  one  had  even  seen  him  take  the  money.  The  ac- 
cused was  quite  young,  light-haired,  pock-marked, 
and  clad  in  the  usual  uniform.  He  answered  un- 
convincingly  and  with  rising  confusion.  No  one  re- 
cognized the  name  of  his  village  which  lay  in  the 
Tambof  somewhere.  "Jebog,  I  didn't  do  it,  God 
knows  I  didn't  do  it,"  he  kept  repeating. 

But  now  the  Commandant  ordered  him  searched. 
Two  soldiers  laid  their  rifles  aside  and  began  to  go 
through  his  clothes.  The  result  was  put  on  the  desk, 
and  consisted  of  some  lumps  of  rye  bread,  a  salted 
cucumber  in  a  newspaper,  a  piece  of  candle,  a  fine 
comb,  a  cigarette  lighter  made  from  a  cartridge,  and 
a  small  linen  bag  of  tobacco.  And,  furthermore, 
some  silver  rubles  and  a  gold  fountain  pen.  But  in 
the  turned-back  cuff  of  his  overcoat  were  found  sev- 


Russian  Court  Martial  31 

, __ — — « 

eral  hundred  rubles  in  yellow  and  green  Kerensky 
rags, — and  a  folded  Romanoff  hundred  ruble  note. 
The  woman  shrieked  when  she  saw  it,  "And  then  the 
swine,  whom  God  will  surely  punish,  has  crumpled  it 
all  up  for  me!" 

The  Commandant  had  turned  red  in  the  face.  He 
broke  off  the  squabble  by  rising  from  the  table  with 
a  kick  that  sent  the  chair  from  under  him.  With 
folded  arms,  he  looked  at  the  accused  peasant.  The 
latter  became  still  more  nervous  under  the  gaze  which 
seemed  to  pierce  him. 

"That's  enough,"  said  the  Commandant,  after  de- 
laying a  moment.  "Give  the  woman  her  money. 
For  you,  Tavarisch,  I  can  do  nothing.  Because  of 
the  activities  of  the  White  bands,  the  Kursk  military 
district  is  considered  to  be  in  a  state  of  war,  and  this 
provides  for  the  instant  execution  of  all  thieves  and 
hooligans  caught  red-handed.  You  are  not  con- 
demned because  of  your  offence,  but  out  of  regard  for 
the  safety  of  the  Soviet  Republic  and  the  need  of 
absolute  peace  and  order  behind  the  front  in  the  mer- 
ciless struggle  against  the  counter  revolution.  I  am 
only  following  my  explicit  instructions.  Take  that 
man  out  and  shoot  him  at  once." 

The  Commandant  had  spoken  with  almost  passion- 
ate politeness.  His  features  quivered  with  deter- 
mined inflexibility.  He  presented  a  picture  of  grim 
military  beauty  as  he  stood  there.  The  upper  part 
of  his  body  was  clad  as  in  polished  armour  by  a  black 
leather  jacket,  decorated  by  the  order  of  St.  George 


32  The  Red  Garden 

* I 

in  orange  and  girded  at  the  waist  by  sword  and  revol- 
ver. He  wore  long  patent  leather  boots,  and  his 
strong  legs  were  in  dark  riding-breeches  with  a  red 
stripe. — "I  didn't  do  it, — jebog,"  the  soldier  re- 
peated, as  he  was  being  pushed  out  by  the  others. 

A  deadly  silence  had  come  over  the  gathering. 
They  stole  away,  almost  before  they  were  told  to. 
Nobody  had  been  prepared  for  this  outcome  of  an 
affair  that  originally  had  started  as  an  attempt  to 
amuse  themselves  while  they  were  waiting.  Who  the 
devil  could  keep  track  of  all  the  "states  of  war,"  pro- 
claimed now  by  one  side  now  by  the  other?  The  one 
purpose  always  seemed  to  be  to  separate  people  from 
their  lives  without  law  and  sentence  and  on  the  loosest 
suspicions.  Anybody  might  walk  right  into  it. 
Death  up  against  a  wall,  in  this  case  the  lot  of  a  nice, 
quiet  fellow  traveller,  might  just  as  well  have  hit  one's 
self.  No  one  is  blameless,  and  we  are  all  sinners. 
And  how  little  is  needed  to  be  in  the  minority  and  one 
against  the  many!  This  commandant  had  certainly 
exceeded  the  most  daring  expectations.  He  couldn't 
take  a  joke.  With  all  respect  for  the  man's  formal 
politeness,  this  was  much  worse  than  being  sentenced 
to  the  lash  by  a  damned  police  officer,  who  first  swore 
and  then  laughed  mischievously  in  his  beard. 

But  perhaps  the  box-car  would  have  forgotten  the 
man  and  his  sad  fate  quickly,  anyway,  since  the  times 
had  robbed  it  of  any  startling  importance,  if  Babus- 
chka  hadn't  along  toward  noon  laid  her  fingers  on 
her  own  hundred  ruble  note,  as  she  absentmindedly 


Russian  Court  Martial  33 


dug  down  in  her  one  red  Avoollen  stocking,  in  search 
of  something  that  itched.  Her  consternation  took  on 
such  overwhelming  proportions  that  it  could  hardly 
fail  to  attract  the  attention  of  the  others  to  her  dis- 
covery. She  shrieked  aloud  in  terror  and  stared  with 
drenched  eyes  at  both  her  notes.  Her  uncontrolled 
repentance  reached  the  furthest  borders  of  that  con- 
ception. But  her  weeping  and  contrition  did  not  ease 
the  others.  Nor  could  they  hide  that  they  too  were 
moved.  A  certain  feeling  of  shame  prompted  them 
to  give  tongue  and  convert  their  energy  into  active 
contempt.  Damned  hag!  She  would  get  innocent 
people  shot,  would  she?  She  was  downright  danger- 
ous. An  unanimous  resolution  lifted  her  out  of  the 
car,  and  she  was  dragged  back  to  the  commandant. 

When  matters  had  been  explained  to  him,  and  the 
two  notes  laid  on  the  table  for  comparison,  the  hard 
Bolshevik  grew  deadly  pale  for  a  moment.  He 
gasped  for  breath  dramatically,  tore  open  his  coat,  so 
that  a  sweater  was  visible,  and  gripped  the  edge  of  the 
table.  A  tug  at  the  red,  braided  lanyard  brought  his 
long  Mauser  pistol  into  his  hand,  and  he  looked  at  the 
crone  as  if  he  himself  was  about  to  shoot  her  down 
then  and  there.  But  instead  he  splintered  the  ink- 
well in  front  of  him  so  that  the  ink  squirted  out  on 
the  table;  he  spat  loudly  in  her  face,  and  she  in  her 
fear  ceased  howling,  and  let  her  water  fall  on  the  floor 
with  an  unpleasant  noise.  His  cap  had  fallen  off, 
his  hair  clung  clammily  to  his  forehead,  he  gritted  his 
teeth  at  her  with  an  expression  that  said  clearly  that 


34  The  Red  Garden 

■  ■■  —  ■■■■  -     ■  ■■  ■         -     -  ,  J 

death  was  too  easy  a  punishment  for  her  error  which 
furthermore  was  an  injustice  to  him. 

When  his  rage  had  run  its  course,  he  continued  to 
pace  up  and  down  the  floor  before  the  table.  "What 
in  the  name  of  Satan  shall  I  do  with  you,  Babu- 
schka!"  he  shouted  to  her  each  time  he  passed  her. 

"Gospodi,  help  me,"  she  said  just  as  often.  Only 
the  aid  of  the  soldiers  kept  her  on  her  feet. 

Justitial  doubts  and  clouds  of  anger  passed  over 
the  face  of  the  Commandant.  He  was  really  a  prey 
to  the  deepest  perplexity.  In  this  instance,  neither 
martial  law  nor  his  special  instructions  offered  him 
any  guidance.  He  had  to  act  according  to  his  own 
lights.  A  proper  regard  for  his  own  dignity  and 
anger,  and  for  the  righteous  impulses  of  all  these 
men,  forced  him  to  take  the  responsibility  of  a  deci- 
sion. "What  in  Satan's  name  shall  I  do  with  you, 
Babuschka?"  he  repeated.  His  voice  had  become 
quite  gentle  from  pondering. 

Just  then  a  train  slid  into  the  station.  It  must  be 
the  military  transport  from  Orel  which  had  delayed 
so  long  and  because  of  which  the  road  had  been  held 
open. 

"Tschort!"  the  commandant  swore,  as  he  lifted  his 
arm  to  look  at  his  watch.  "Oh,  in  the  name  of  the 
devil,  take  her  out  and  shoot  her  too!"  He  picked 
up  his  cap,  and  pressed  it  with  both  hands  firmly  on 
his  head,  so  that  it  sat  with  the  correct  slant,  and  erect 
and  without  looking  right  or  left,  he  went  out  on  the 
platform. 


The  Bolshevik  in  the  Province 

BJELOF  is  in  the  Tula  government,  southwest  of 
the  town  of  Tula  and  only  a  hundred  versts 
from  Tolstoy's  famous  estate,  Jasnaja  Poljana. 
The  region  where  the  great  writer  followed  the  plough 
in  his  soft  unbleached  shirt  and  shiny  leather  belt, 
and  where  he  went  into  the  low  huts  of  the  peasants  to 
leave  behind  him  a  thoughtfully  forgotten  gold  piece, 
is  rather  commonplace,  mostly  beech-woods  and  flat 
land.  The  white  buildings  are  neither  plundered  nor 
burnt.  They  look  deserted ;  as  I  drove  by,  a  score  of 
glistening  ravens  flew  up  and  left  on  the  road  the 
bloody  bones  of  the  carcass  they  had  been  rending. 

But  along  towards  Bjelof  Nature  unfolds  a  wider 
prospect.  It  was  early  spring,  the  snow  had  only 
just  melted.  The  country-side  was  fresh  and  sunny, 
the  earth  grey  and  brown  with  large  light-green  spots 
where  flocks  of  black  sheep  grazed.  From  a  distance 
they  lay  on  the  land-scape  as  blots  from  a  scratchy 
pen.  Warm  gusts  came  and  went  and  towards  noon 
it  was  quite  summerlike,  although  winter  might  easily 
come  once  more  before  the  real  heat  sets  in  and  of  a 
sudden  everything  is  green  and  it  is  unexpectedly 
summer. 

I  came  to  Bjelof  as  it  was  growing  dark.     The  only 

hotel  in  the  town,  formerly  known  as  the  "Metropol" 

had  been  requisitioned  by  the  Bolsheviki  for  the  use 

35 


36  The  Red  Garden 

(  »        I    ■    1^1  I  I  ■  .  I.  ■■■■I       I  !,■■  .  , 

of  the  peoples'  commissars.  I  had  the  choice  of  only 
two  inns,  Rossija  and  Francia,  as  two  of  the  hotels  in 
a  Russian  town  are  always  called,  and  I  chose 
"Francia."  Thanks  to  my  broken  Russian  and  whole 
foreign  appearance,  I  was  shown  into  the  best 
room  on  the  first  floor  and  given  a  candle.  The  fur- 
nishings were  not  much  but  doubtless  sufficient:  an 
old  iron  bed  with  a  red-striped  mattress,  that  looked 
as  if  it  had  gone  through  a  great  deal,  a  table  and  a 
chair — bolsje  nitchevo,  that  was  all.  The  washing 
facilities  were  in  the  hall  and  for  the  common  use  of 
six  rooms.  It  was  an  old  cupboard-like  thing  with  a 
black  tin  basin  and  a  tank,  that  forbade  any  wasting 
of  the  water. 

The  next  morning  I  had  a  couple  of  eggs  and  a 
samovar  served  to  me  in  the  tap  room;  a  cloth  had 
been  put  on  the  table  and  from  the  spots  on  it  I  could 
study  the  quality  of  my  hostess's  soup.  If  I  never 
tasted  it,  it  was  not  because  I  doubted  its  goodness 
and  fatness.  Nor  was  it  because  of  any  natural  back- 
wardness due  to  the  fact  that  the  kitchen  was  separ- 
ated from  another  fully  as  necessary  room  only  by  a 
screen,  but  wholly  because  it  was  in  Bjelof  that  I  was 
tendered  a  hospitality  surprising  even  in  Russia. 

My  visit  in  Bjelof — I  found  it  necessary  to  get 
various  signatures  to  my  credentials  before  I  went 
out  on  my  mission  to  some  camps  for  prisoners  of 
war — developed  as  follows:  Between  eleven  and 
twelve  I  went  up  to  the  former  Metropol,  a  red  brick 
building  of  about  the  same  size  and  appearance  as  a 


The  Bolshevik  in  the  Province        37 

I  ,1  ' 

High  School  Home  in  a  Danish  country  town.  The 
street  was  guarded  by  the  military  who  lay  in  the  sun 
against  the  wall  and  slept.  A  light  wagon  drawn  by 
a  handsome  grey  trotting  horse  stood  before  the  en- 
trance to  the  hotel.  The  first  room  I  came  into  har- 
boured "The  Third  Internationale  Executive  and 
Agitation  Committee  of  Bjelof  for  the  Propagation 
of  Bolshevistic  Ideas  among  the  Prisoners  of  War  in 
Russia."  Here  sat  a  Hungarian,  and  a  Viennese  Jew, 
but  evidently  they  were  not  the  ones  I  was  to  see. 
The  corridor  on  the  first  floor  was  full  of  people. 
They  were  petitioners  and  persons  waiting  to  see  the 
head  commissar  of  Bjelof,  sent  out  by  the  Soviets* 
central  committee  in  Moscow — Mr.  Rosenfeld,  the 
very  man  I  wished  to  get  in  touch  with.  As  it  was 
still  in  those  times  when  a  foreigner  in  Russia  com- 
manded just  so  much  respect  as  he  demanded,  I  went 
past  the  whole  mob  right  into  the  audience  room. 

There  were  six  or  seven  persons  in  the  place,  and 
it  was  a  little  while  before  I  got  my  bearings.  Two 
soldiers  sat  on  a  bed,  with  their  rifles  between  their 
boots,  and  smoked  cigarettes,  and  another  man  in  a 
soldier's  cape  lay  in  a  comer  and  slept  loudly  on  a 
pile  of  cartridge  behs.  A  pale  man,  with  a  face  like 
yellow  peas,  sat  at  a  small  table  on  which  there  was  a 
typewriter,  and  ate  soup.  In  the  middle  of  the  room 
a  man,  whom  I  supposed  to  be  Rosenfeld,  without  a 
collar  and  wearing  long  boots,  was  conferring  with 
two  tousled  youths  in  the  black  blouses  of  the  Russian 
Intelligentsia.     Rosenfeld  was  a  fattish  Jew  of  about 


38  The  Red  Garden 

35-40  years.  I  drew  his  attention  to  me  by  handing 
him  a  glazed  card  with  all  the  titles  which  a  foreigner 
travelling  in  Russia  does  not  disdain  to  claim. 
Rosenfeld  willingly  let  himself  be  impressed,  he 
overwhelmed  me  with  politeness  and  excuses  for  the 
untidiness  of  the  place,  with  bows  and  noble  gestures. 
He  personally  took  a  machine  gun  off  an  armchair 
that  I  might  sit  down.  He  was  apparently  figuring 
out  something  else  while  he  studied  me  and  my  er- 
rand. The  man  with  the  soup  was  set  to  click  off  a 
flattering  letter  of  introduction  for  me  and  Rosenfeld 
gave  all  my  papers  his  personal  vise.  I  rejoiced — 
only  those,  who  have  had  the  experience  will  under- 
stand the  happiness  that  comes  with  each  addition  to 
the  typewritten,  rubber-stamped  collection  of  docu- 
ments, signed  and  triple  signed  by  the  proper  Com- 
missar or  General  and  his  secretary  and  adjutant  of 
the  day,  without  which  one  feels  that  he  has  no  legal 
claim  on  life  in  Russia.  I  have  had  them  all  taken 
from  me  twice  and  both  times  I  had  one  leg  in  the 
grave. 

Although  I  conversed  in  Russian  witV  Rosenfeld  to 
the  best  of  my  ability,  he  willingly  picked  up  the 
thread  of  the  conversation  in  French,  which  did  not 
better  our  mutual  understanding  in  the  least,  as  he 
knew  still  less  French  than  I  did  Russian.  The  two 
pale  youths  were  presented  to  me;  they  were  the  com- 
missars of  sanitation  and  of  the  commissariat.  The 
sleeping  man  in  the  comer  had  awakened  and  had 
furnished  himself  with  a  sword  and  revolver.     He 


The  Bolshevik  in  the  Province        39 

I  — -« 

turned  out  to  be  the  commissar  for  the  war  depart- 
ment, the  Voinskij  Natjalnik  of  the  town.  Rosen- 
feld,  himself,  no  doubt,  had  charge  of  the  finances. 
I  was  the  Danish  Ambassador  to  Russia. 

But  now  Rosenfeld  got  up  and  declared  that  I  must 
go  along  with  him  to  the  court-house  and  meet  all  the 
important  personages,  the  "heads  of  the  town."  He 
swept  the  papers  together  on  the  table  and  flung  open 
the  door  for  me,  and  we  went  past  all  the  waiting 
petitioners,  widows,  wives,  girls,  soldiers,  pensioners, 
discharged  officials,  etc.,  whom  Rosenfeld  with  preoc- 
cupied gestures  told  to  come  again  the  next  day. 

The  trotting  horse  was  at  the  disposition  of  Rosen- 
feld, and  things  went  by  in  a  hurry  as  we  drove  up  to 
the  court-house.  Rosenfeld  introduced  a  great  num- 
ber of  eminent  men  to  me.  He  had  much  verve  and 
I  was  not  unaware  that  he  wished  to  dumbfound  the 
whole  community  with  his  phenomenal  savoir  faire, 
so  that  they  could  not  help  but  get  the  impression  that 
the  town  was  greatly  blessed  in  Mr.  Rosenfeld,  who 
was  a  man  of  breeding,  a  man  of  the  world,  who  knew 
how  to  handle  a  ticklish  international  situation  with 
tact  and  dignity!  Rosenfeld  spoke  French  over  the 
heads  of  the  town  dignitaries:  Oui,  naturellement, 
avec  plaisir,  tres  possible,  voila  and  cest  comme  get — 
the  same  incontrovertible  truths  that  hold  so  much 
consolation  for  the  debutant  Legation  secretary. 

I  was  invited  for  one  o'clock  luncheon  at  the  former 
civic  club,  where  the  not  too  Tsaristically  inclined 
citizens  now  were  the  evening  guests  of  the  Bolsheviki. 


40  The  Red  Garden 

Large  placards,  printed  in  red  type,  glared  conspic- 
uously and  proclaimed  that  the  Agitation  Committee 
and  the  Committee  for  Public  Education  had  ar- 
ranged moving  pictures,  dancing  and  an  exhibition  of 
modem  dancing  for  every  evening  and  for  Sunday 
evening  a  masquerade  with  a  prize  for  the  most  fetch- 
ing gown  and  the  most  beautiful  woman.  Times  may 
change.  Red  may  take  the  place  of  White,  but  the  ex- 
ertions of  the  revolution  or  of  the  counter-revolution 
are  equally  rewarded  by  the  popular  approval  of  the 
garrison  philanderer's  heroic  and  well-dressed  ap- 
pearance, and  the  conqueror  swings  in  the  dance  to- 
day with  the  glowing  girl  who  will  be  cradled  in  a 
new  victor's  arms  tomorrow. 

Rosenfeld  came  to  lunch  with  a  collar  on  but  with- 
out a  tie  and  wearing  a  somewhat  dilapidated  dinner 
coat  that  I  was  sure  had  figured  before  in  the  club  on 
some  dapper  officer.  There  were  two  others  there, 
apparently  the  wealthiest  of  tlie  town  dignitaries, 
whom  Rosenfeld  particularly  tried  to  flatter  and 
honour,  and  me  with  them.  Their  names  were  Vas- 
silij  Maximovitch  and  Ivan  Ivanovitch — their  last 
names  I  have  forgotten  but  if  I  once  more  come  to 
Bjelof,  I  will  be  just  as  welcome  in  spite  of  that.  The 
first  was  a  handsome,  though  very  fat,  old  man  with 
venerable  Jewish  features  and  snow-white  hair  and 
beard.  He  wore  a  Prince  Albert  coat  and  soft  elastic- 
sided  shoes.  Maybe  he  wasn't  a  Jew,  perhaps  he 
had  been  baptized  in  this  or  the  past  generation,  at  any 
rate  he  crossed  himself  with  all  the  ritual  which,  like 


The  Bolshevik  in  the  Province         41 

^■^^^^— "^     I  I     1.1     I  I.I  I  II-    I        .       ■  I  .  ■      .  ■!     I      I        rf 

all  concessions  to  formality,  gives  the  real  Russian  so 
much  charm.  His  voice,  however,  was  the  most  char- 
acteristic thing  about  him,  it  was  at  once  impressive 
and  subdued  and  full  of  fat  organ-like  notes,  as  that 
of  an  actor  who  has  grown  old  in  worthy  traditions  and 
good  food.  Ivan  Ivanovitch  was  on  the  other  hand  a 
pure  merchant  type,  of  peasant  stock,  and  not  for 
nothing  the  richest  man  in  town.  His  blinking  eyes 
ran  with  both  drink  and  slavic  sweetness  and  false- 
ness; they  told  of  experience  in  life,  that  on  his  part 
was  complete  and  hardened  in  exercise  of  all  those 
vices  known  to  the  Old  Testament. 

The  luncheon  was  lavish,  and  I  was  hungry.  We 
ate  steadily  for  three  hours.  Rosenfeld  had  brought 
two  flasks  of  whisky  along  in  the  pockets  of  his  dinner 
coat  and  in  the  middle  of  the  meal  a  soldier  came 
with  reinforcements  in  the  shape  of  a  bottle  of  the 
kind  that  the  Russians  call  Tschetvert,  holding  from 
two  to  three  quarts.  It  was  filled  with  pure  alcohol, 
which  the  waiter  and  the  soldier  under  Ivan  Ivano- 
vitch's  kindly  and  interested  advice  prepared  with  a 
little  water,  a  bit  of  cognac,  some  sugar,  herbs  and 
some  similar  asafetida,  after  which  it  was  run  through 
a  sieve  and  at  last  was  as  smooth  and  strong  and 
aromatic  as  the  imperial  vodka  itself.  The  soldier 
sat  down  at  the  table  and  drank  too  and  then  I  noticed 
for  the  first  time  that  it  was  the  militar}^  commissar. 

Rosenfeld  drank  as  I  have  never  before  seen  a  Jew 
drink,  he  sweated  great  drops  and  with  each  minute 
grew  paler  and  more  unshaven.     He  led  the  con- 


42  The  Red  Garden 

> — — . I 

versation,  that  is  to  say,  his  mouth  was  never  still  for 
a  moment;  the  two  old  men  ate  and  drank  and  were 
more  reserved.  Vassilij  Maximovitch  drank  only  the 
official  toasts  and  regarded  me  with  smiling  benevo- 
lence. Ivan  Ivanovitch  glanced  at  me  slyly  and  drank 
to  excess  as  if  he  wanted  to  get  drunk,  if  that  were 
possible.  The  commissar  was  a  coarse-grained  young 
man,  who  drank  boastfully,  spilled  his  liquor,  and  be- 
came offensively  drunk  at  once. 

When  we  had  had  our  dessert,  preserved  peaches 
and  apricots,  the  two  merchants  drove  away,  after 
Ivan  Ivanovitch  earnestly  had  gotten  the  others  to 
explain  to  me  that  I  was  invited  to  a  dinner  in  my 
honour,  at  his  house  that  evening.  He  would  ab- 
solutely not  concede  that  I  understood  a  word  of  what 
he  said.  Rosenfeld  lit  one  cigarette  after  the  other 
and  dozed. 

"Very  rich  people,"  he  said  suddenly,  "very  rich 
people."  He  took  out  an  old,  greasy  wallet,  that 
split  and  gaped  with  money,  old  Tsar  money  with  pic- 
tures of  Catherine  and  Peter  the  Great,  and  new  Ker- 
ensky  thousand  ruble  notes.  He  smiled  at  me,  an  in- 
toxicated augur's  smile  and  said:  "I  am  the  finance 
commissar — and  here  is  the  treasury,  three  hundred 
thousand  rubles — that  is  more  than  I  used  to  carry 
with  me  when  I  was  a  longshoreman  at  Le  Havre  and 
London — before  the  Revolution.  But  the  wallet  is 
the  same." — "It's  better  to  keep  it  on  you  these  days," 
he  added  and  put  it  back  into  his  breast  pocket  and 
grew  thoughtful  again. 


The  Bolshevik  in  the  Province         43 

I  slept  on  the  red  mattress  at  the  Francia  that  after- 
noon but  at  half  after  nine  Rosenfeld  came  with  the 
trotter  to  bring  me  to  the  dinner. 

Ivan  Ivanovitch's  house  lay  back  of  the  market 
place.  The  warehouse  was  in  front  and  back  across 
the  court  yard  was  the  dwelling  house  with  a  pair  of 
wooden  stairs  running  parallel  to  its  faQade.  There 
were  a  number  of  large  rooms  and  very  little  furni- 
ture but  many  green  plants,  standing  in  wooden  tubs 
in  the  middle  of  the  "great  room."  In  the  corners 
were  big  collections  of  old  ikon  images  with  a  fine 
patina,  and  new  ostentatious  pieces  flaming  with  gilt. 

The  guests  had  already  gathered.  There  were  eight- 
een and  each  man  was  peculiar  in  his  own  way.  If 
one  was  too  tall  another  was  too  short,  if  one  was  yel- 
lowish and  had  red  pimples,  another  was  red  and  had 
yellow  ones,  if  one  was  long-haired  and  saddle-nosed, 
another  was  thin  bearded  and  cross-eyed.  It  was  a 
company  that  Dickens  would  have  raved  about  on  his 
death  bed.  There  was  a  postmaster  and  a  Volost 
writer,  two  notaries  and  three  teachers  from  a  girl's 
school,  a  former  pope,  and  a  discharged  intendant 
with  his  fingers  full  of  diamonds,  a  landed  proprietor 
without  property  and  a  sailor  from  the  Sebastopol 
fleet.  There  was  a  man  in  an  undershirt  and  striped 
trousers,  a  commissar  in  a  black  blouse  and  with  a 
general's  red  stripes  on  his  light  blue  trousers. 
There  were  some  in  long  boots  and  some  in  tennis 
shoes.  The  atmosphere  was  dignified,  careful  and, 
if  not  oppressive,  then  sensitive  to  what  might  occur. 


44  The  Red  Garden 

Every  one  had  his  best  clothes  on  and  moved  side- 
ways along  the  green  rubber  plants  without  as  yet 
feeling  each  other  out. 

The  Zakuska,  the  obligatory  Russian  hors  d'oeuv- 
res,  was  laid  in  the  dining  room.  On  a  long  table 
that  stood  up  against  the  wall,  there  was  placed  an 
unsurveyable  amount  of  food.  There  were  seven 
kinds  of  sausage,  three  roast  geese,  great  stacks  of 
pancakes,  and  bowls  of  sour  cream,  deep  cups  with 
butter  sauce,  white  and  red  and  pink  salmon,  not  thin 
slices  from  a  delicatessen  store,  but  enormous  full 
sized  fish,  rolls  stuffed  with  soup  herbs  and  onions 
and  chopped  meat,  red  and  yellow  salads,  small 
roasted  birds,  smoked  eels,  quivering  suckling  pig 
with  Smetana.  There  were  fish  in  oil  and  fish  in 
tomatoes  and  caviar — grey,  glistening  caviar,  reared 
up  in  mounds  of  small  hail  in  tureens,  old  milk  cheese 
and  whey  cheese,  mountains  of  bread  and  a  clay  dish 
with  white,  unsalted  butter  that  was  still  moist  from 
the  churn.  There  were  many  decanters  with  white 
and  yellowish  vodka  and  looming  over  it  all,  a  metre- 
high  samovar  surrounded  by  large  and  small  glasses, 
smooth  and  fluted  glasses,  crystal  glasses,  and  glas- 
ses of  green  bottle  glass,  glasses  from  the  good  old 
days  and  wartime  glasses. —  I  came  from  Petrograd 
where  people  and  dogs  in  the  course  of  a  night  leave 
only  the  hooves  of  a  dead  horse  on  the  cobblestones. 

Ivan  Ivanovitch  filled  the  schnapps  glasses  three 
times  and  tlien  the  tea  was  carried  around  by  a  pea- 


The  Bolshevik  in  the  Province         45 

I , 

sant  lass  in  down-at-the-heel  slippers  and  with  a  wool 
shawl  around  her  head  for  the  tooth  ache.  The  com- 
pany had  already  livened  up  considerably  at  the  sight 
of  the  food  and,  loudly  conversing,  patronized  the  long 
table  without  urging.  There  was  a  man  to  take  care 
that  the  glasses  were  kept  filled  and  the  decanters  re- 
placed, and  when  he  became  drunk  another  servant 
took  his  place.  Ivan  Ivanovitch  drank  the  health  of 
all  the  guests  who  in  turn  toasted  each  other.  After 
the  Zakuska  we  remained  sitting  for*  a  short  time  and 
smoked  cigarettes  to  settle  our  food  before  we  started 
to  eat  dinner. 

The  table  was  set  in  the  "great  room."  The  green 
plants  had  been  moved  together  at  the  windows.  It 
was  a  large  table  and  its  extreme  bareness  did  not 
make  it  look  any  smaller.  There  was  absolutely 
nothing  on  it  besides  twenty  unmatched  glasses  full  of 
red  wine,  a  plate  and  three  utensils  per  convert,  to- 
gether with  a  salt  dish  for  common  use  in  the  centre 
of  the  table.  There  were  no  napkins,  no  dishes 
were  changed  and  no  finger  bowls  were  given. 
Serevno!  as  the  Russian  says  when  he  is,  as  we  say 
in  Copenhagen,  indiff'erent:  there  was  food. 

First  the  filled  Vodka  decanters  were  set  on  the 
table  and  then  we  sat  down,  and  the  soup  was  car- 
ried around  in  dishes,  yellow,  steaming  soup,  too 
fat,  strong  and  spiced.  There  was  a  hunk  of  beef 
and  a  piece  of  fowl  in  each  portion.  After  that, 
fattened  veal  roast  with  greens,  then  wood-grouse, 


46  The  Red  Garden 

already  carved,  but  the  pieces,  even  to  the  dead  eyes 
and  beaks,  had  been  skillfully  joined  together 
again.  Browned  potatoes,  red  cabbage,  pumpkins, 
cucumbers,  whole  plums,  quinces  and  numerous 
kinds  of  jelly.  It  was  a  dinner  where  the  old 
hackneyed  saying  of  the  best  being  none  too  good 
took  on  a  deeper  meaning. 

Rosenfeld,  who  sat  at  the  middle  of  the  table  on 
my  left — on  my  right  I  had  my  host's  daughter, 
Vjera  Ivanova,  who  was  Intelligentsia — spoke  in 
my  honour.  Modesty  forbids  me  to  report  its 
more  personal  parts,  but  he  felt  honored  to  bid  the 
representative  of  a  friendly  nation  welcome  on  be- 
half of  the  town.  He  knew  that  his  sentiments 
were  shared  by  all  those  present — Denmark  was  a 
small,  democratic  country,  her  people  the  most 
lovable  and  liberal  on  earth,  unfortunately  the 
police  still  spoiled  this  idyll  by  their  dirty  reac- 
t^bnarism — and  then  too  he  loved  Copenhagen,  a 
city  he  knew  from  personal  observation,  wonderful 
place.  Tivoli,  Adelgade,  smokke  Pige  ...  of 
course  he  spoke  Danish  too,  (and  then  we  all 
laughed)  ...  he  would  propose  a  toast  for  little 
Denmark  and  great  communistic  Russia! 

Ivan  Ivanovitch  had  ordered  the  glasses  to  be 
kept  filled  to  the  rim  ...  he  tried  to  embrace  me 
.  .  .  his  eyes  glazed  and  ran  with  a  sharp  clear 
moisture.  As  I,  somewhat  embarrassed  at  being 
the  company's  centre  of  attention,  eased  Vjera  off 
me  a  little,  I  saw  through  a  fog  eighteen  reddish- 


The  Bolshevik  in  the  Province        47 

purple  or  greenish-pale  faces  turned  to  me  and  dis- 
torted in  a  meaningless  roar  that  made  the  dogs  in 
the  yard  bark  for  a  long  time  after. 

I  remained  standing  and  responded  with  an  ap- 
propriate toast  to  the  Russian  woman,  who  loves  so 
much,  that  much  shall  therefore  be  forgiven  her. 
Vjera  leaned  her  ringleted  bobbed  head  against  me, 
as  I  spoke.  She  was  constantly  in  need  of  much 
help.  She  said  she  could  not  stand  to  drink  very 
much.  She  wanted  so  to  learn  French,  she  had 
studied  it  at  school  but  she  only  knew  un  petit  pen 
.  .  .  she  also  wanted  so  much  to  know  me  better, 
and  she  pressed  my  hand  and  looked  at  me  with 
large  lovely  eyes.  .  .  . 

For  some  reason  or  other  there  was  a  disturbance 
among  the  many  drunken  people  at  the  table.  The 
sailor  drew  an  enormous  Browning  pistol  out  of  his 
back  pocket  and  banged  on  the  table  with  it.  As 
by  a  stroke  of  magic,  a  silence  that  was  broken  only 
by  the  barking  of  the  dogs  fell  over  the  table  and 
every  one  glanced  warily  at  each  other,  at  Rosen- 
feld  and  at  me.  Rosenfeld  was  drunk  to  be  sure 
but  he  dragged  a  heavy  automatic  out  of  his  pocket 
and  said  to  me:  "We've  all  got  those — a  little 
helper  comes  in  handy  now  and  then."  Smiles  were 
again  unbound  and  suddenly  all  had  their  re- 
volvers out  and  sat  there  and  chatted,  explaining  and 
sighting.  It  was  a  remarkable  collection,  from  long 
horse-pistols  to  pistols  from  the  Crimean  War,  and 
small  silver-mounted  ladies'  revolvers,  Austrian  of- 


48  The  Red  Garden 


ficers'  pistols,  Mausers,  small  Brownings  without 
pistol  barrels,  that  one  could  hold  in  the  palm  of  his 
hand,  and  Smith  and  Wesson  revolvers  with  rotating 
magazines.  This  lasted  until  Ivan  Ivanovitch  once 
more  had  the  glasses  refilled  and  the  incident  was 
forgotten. 

There  were  still  a  number  of  speeches — I  remem- 
ber that  Rosenfeld  spoke  in  honour  of  Vassilij 
Maximovitch,  who  sat,  fat,  white-haired  and  digni- 
fied, directly  opposite  me  and  neither  ate  nor  drank 
much,  but  enjoyed  the  veneration  of  the  gathering  in 
such  a  matter  of  fact  way  that  it  was  strengthened 
by  it.  I  got  the  impression  that  it  was  he  who  led 
the  others,  as  sheep,  that  obey  blindly.  Rosenfeld 
spoke  for  a  long  time,  grandly  and  lyrically,  with 
an  abundance  of  adjectives  that  described  Vassilij 
Maximovitch  as  Man,  Citizen  and  Capitalist.  It  was 
with  men  such  as  he  that  the  people's  commissars 
had  to  and  wished  to  work — he  was  a  great  philanthro- 
pist, even  in  the  Tsar's  time  he  had  donated  25,000 
rubles  to  a  school  for  girls,  and  now  because  the 
school  had  never  been  finished  during  the  corrupt 
Tsaristic  reign,  he  had  renewed  his  gift  with  twice 
the  sum.  He  was  a  true  man  of  the  people.  To  be 
sure  not  yet  a  communist  in  principle,  that  meant 
nothing, — ^he  understood  the  new  times — both  he  and 
Ivan  Ivanovitch,  who  recently  had  paid  a  biggish 
fine  for  illegal  traffic  in  liquors,  had  shown  that  they 
were  good  co-workers  in  the  cause  of  liberty  and  pro- 
gress.    He,  Rosenfeld,  did  not  underestimate  Capital, 


The  Bolshevik  in  the  Province         49 

it  is  our  enemy  but  we  need  it  to  carry  through  our 
plans. — Long  live  the  generous  and  noble  Vassilij 
Maximovitch! 

Then  Vassilij  Maximovitch  spoke  of  Rosenfeld 
with  deep  feeling  and  with  elegant  diction  that  was 
accompanied  as  by  the  twanging  of  a  bass  string  by 
his  fat,  full  voice,  and  when  he  was  finished  they 
kissed  each  other  on  both  cheeks.  And  Rosenfeld 
spoke  of  Ivan  Ivanovitch — and  others  spoke,  who 
sprang  up  on  chairs  and  on  the  table:  no  one  knew 
his  voice  for  his  own.  The  table-cloth  was  littered 
with  refuse  and  dripped  with  alcohol,  the  room  was 
hot  with  human  breath,  smoke  and  the  penetrating 
fumes  of  liquor.  Two  great  cream  tarts  were  car- 
ried in  but  no  one  took  heed  of  them,  all  walked  about 
or  stood  up  and  presently  took  their  places  at  the 
table  again. 

I  remember  still  that  we  had  some  strong  cognac 
with  our  coffee  and  that  Ivan  Ivanovitch  persisted  in 
trying  to  drink  to  me  and  kiss  me  on  both  cheeks. 
It  was  Russian,  po  russkij. 

I  felt  his  whiskers  and  breath  singe  my  face  and 
pushed  the  drunken  man  from  me. 

Vjera  had  disappeared,  and  the  sailor,  and  various 
others  that  I  did  not  see  again. — Rosenfeld  drove  me 
back  to  the  Francia. 

The  next  afternoon  we  had  a  parting  luncheon  at 
the  house  of  Vassilij  Maximovitch.  Rosenfeld  came 
and  woke  me;  it  was  necessary,  he  said,  Vassilij 
Maximovitch  would   feel  offended   if  you   did  not 


50  The  Red  Garden 

t  —  I 

coma  when  you  had  been  at  the  house  of  Ivan  Ivano- 
vitch. 

At  Vassilij  Maximovitch's,  I  saw  Ivan  Ivanovitch 
again,  looking  the  same  as  ususal,  and  the  other 
guests  of  the  night  before.  Their  faces  were  swollen 
as  if  they  had  been  in  a  fight.  Vjera  was  there  too 
and  now  for  the  first  time  I  noticed  that  she  was  preg- 
nant. At  Vassilij  Maximovitch's  we  also  had  every 
possible  kind  of  cold  dishes  and  there  was  Vodka  for 
Ivan  Ivanovitch  and  a  mild  sweet  fruit  brandy  for  the 
rest  of  us.  Everything  went  along  in  a  dignified  way 
and  only  one  speech  was  made,  one  to  me  by  Vassilij 
Maximovitch.  When  we  had  eaten  and  I  was  about 
to  go,  Ivan  Ivanovitch  embraced  me  and  bade  me 
come  as  his  guest  for  as  long  as  I  wished.  Vassilij 
Maximovitch  too  I  had  to  promise  to  come  again. 
And  Vjera  shook  hands  with  me  and  blushed. 

"Come  again,"  she  said,  "some  other  time." 

The  wagon  waited  below  with  my  baggage. 
Rosenfeld  had  gotten  me  two  good  horses  and  a  re- 
liable driver  and  at  a  spanking  trot  we  drove,  with 
bells  tinkling,  up  the  street,  across  the  market  place 
and  out  toward  the  country.  My  friends  waved  as 
long  as  they  could  see  me. 

Soon  we  were  outside  the  town  and  when  I  looked 
back,  I  saw  Bjelof  hovering  in  the  air  like  something 
seen  in  a  dream.  Here  from  the  wide  open  country 
all  that  I  saw  of  it  was  the  long  white  wall  about  the 
old  convent,  the  green  roofs,  the  blue  and  golden 
domes.     Russia,  unforgettable,  beautiful  Russia! 


Village  Bolshevism 

TERAKOVO  lies  on  the  crest  of  a  hill  in  the 
middle  of  the  wide  open  country.  Seen  from 
a  distance  it  resembles,  especially  in  the 
springtime  with  its  grey,  clay-daubed  outhouses  and 
numerous  wooden  peasant  huts,  a  geological  compo- 
nent and  natural  elevation  of  the  landscape.  It  has 
an  enormous  expanse  and  is  really  a  city  in  the  coun- 
try with  five  or  six  thousand  souls.  It  is  not  merely 
the  collection  of  building  blocks  arranged  as  dwell- 
ings for  lesser  hucksters  and  craftsmen  around  the 
railway  station,  the  church  and  the  creamery,  that 
we  since  the  flight  of  the  people,  call  a  village. 

In  the  middle  of  the  town  can  be  seen — still  from 
a  distance — a  large  bald  spot.  For  some  myster- 
ious reason  the  houses  have  given  way  before  and 
around  this  broad  space,  where  the  clay  bank  is  al- 
lowed to  show  its  naked  body,  yellow  and  steep  from 
the  spring  streams  of  melting  snow.  But  close  at 
hand  we  see  that  it  is  only  the  road. — The  road 
through  the  Russian  village  which  from  old  custom 
broadens  like  a  river  and  which  in  case  of  fire  and 
favourable  winds  offers  the  possibility  that  only  half 
the  village  will  bum.  If  one  rides  from  Galicia  or 
Poland  by  horse  and  wagon,  it  is  neither  the  land- 
scape nor  the  people,  the  colour  of  the  cattle,  nor  the 

amount  of  filth  that  tells  us  when  we  have  come  to 

51 


52  The  Red  Garden 

*—— — ■ — ■ —  I 

Russia.  It  is  this  broad  street  in  the  first  Russian 
village  that  with  a  new  and  lavish  conception  of  space 
ushers  in  the  great,  Asiatic,  unused  and  turgid  main- 
land of  which  Europe  is  only  the  peninsula. 

I  came  to  Terakovo  in  the  early  summer  of  1918. 
I  came  at  noon.  It  was  burning  hot  and  the  village 
was  hushed  and  still.  Dogs  and  big  rough-haired 
swine  lay  in  the  shade  of  the  houses,  black-spotted 
and  dirty-white,  and  among  them  tow-headed  chil- 
dren with  open  mouths.  Everything  living  slept, 
singly  and  in  bunches,  where  the  heat  and  sleepiness 
had  surprised  them  in  the  comradely  study  of  the 
mysteries  of  the  road  and  the  manure  heap.  Now 
and  then  the  wagon  joggled  over  a  pair  of  young  pigs 
who  had  made  themselves  comfortable  in  the  deep 
ruts  that  the  carts  had  cut  that  spring  in  the  slough  of 
mud.  The  wheels  ran  over  them  lengthwise  and  they 
let  out  heartrending  squeals  and  then  stood  awhile 
and  pondered  whether  or  no  they  should  do  any  more 
about  it.  Finally  they  decided  to  go  to  sleep  again. 
In  the  middle  of  the  village  we  came  by  the  tradi- 
tional little  stone  chapel  in  which  varicoloured  and 
gilded  images  were  protected  from  the  rain  by  a 
roof.  We  reached  the  end  of  the  village  street  un- 
noticed. A  large  plot  of  long-stalked  sun-flowers 
surrounded  the  last  houses  and  their  green  leaves 
excited  Nature's  already  withered  yellow  into  a  burn- 
ing orange  tone  that  shrieked  aloud  with  thirst. 

During  my  visit  to  a  big  internment  camp  for 
prisoners  of  war  that  lay  a  half  score  versts  further 


Village  Bolshevism  53 

east,  I  learned  a  good  deal  about  the  peasants  in  the 
village  and  how  freedom  had  come  to  Terakovo. 

The  revolution  itself  took  place  very  quietly,  the 
only  sign  of  it  in  the  community  was  the  disappear- 
ance of  the  gendarme.  He  had  been  surprised  by 
soldiers  at  the  station  of  Bokoruzka  and  some  said 
that  he  had  been  killed,  but  others  were  of  the  opin- 
ion that  he  had  gone  back  to  his  village  on  the  Volga 
and  one  would  yet  hear  that  he  had  become  a  commis- 
sar. At  first  the  children  wondered  because  he  was 
no  longer  there,  much  as  we  should  wonder  if  one 
day  the  sun  didn't  rise,  but  would  no  doubt  in  spite 
of  that  still  go  to  our  work  in  the  court  and  in  the 
bank,  send  off  our  letters  and  read  the  newspapers. 
For  a  long  time  no  excesses  took  place  except  that  the 
peasants  cut  wood  in  the  forests  of  the  estates  with- 
out taking  pains  to  hide  it.  Later  they  became 
bolder  and  broke  through  the  fences  of  the  park  and 
cut  down  a  number  of  old  elms,  sawing  them  off  a 
good  yard  above  the  ground  to  make  it  easier.  The 
children,  who  before  had  gone  to  school  on  the 
estate  twice  a  week,  now  took  a  vacation.  When 
the  deserters  began  to  come  home,  the  general's  wife 
and  daughters  no  longer  dared  to  walk  in  the  garden. 
They  were  insulted  and  at  night  stones  were  thrown 
through  the  window  at  them.  They  became  so  terri- 
fied that  they  fled  to  Moscow  and  then  the  manor 
house  stood  empty.  Now  the  depredations  came  in 
rapid  succession,  the  manager  fled  and  it  grew  worse 
as  more  soldiers  came  home.     They  related  that  at 


54  The  Red  Garden 


the  front  the  officers  no  longer  had  command.  It  was 
the  soldiers  themselves  who  decided  whether  they 
would  fight  and  everything  else  and  there  was  a  coun- 
cil, a  soviet  in  each  battalion  and  higher  up.  Also, 
many  strangers  had  come  from  Petrograd  and  from 
far  foreign  lands  who  spoke  much  and  spoke  well. 
They  said  that  now  peace  would  be  made  all  over 
the  world  by  the  private  soldiers,  that  the  officers 
were  paid  by  the  rich  to  make  war  and  let  the  poor 
be  killed  so  that  there  would  not  too  many  of  them 
but  now  no  one  would  be  rich  or  poor  any  more  and 
no  one  would  own  anything  in  the  future  but  every- 
body would  own  all.  The  German  soldiers  would 
not  fight  any  more  either  and  there  was  no  doubt  of 
it  because  they  came  up  out  of  the  trenches  and 
waved  white  flags.  And  not  only  was  there  no  shoot- 
ing of  each  other  any  more,  but  they  talked  together 
and  the  Germans  had  Vodka  that  they  bartered  for 
tobacco  and  they  gave  fifty  rubles  for  a  rifle  and  two 
hundred  for  a  machine  gun.  And  furthermore  the 
strangers  said  that  all  the  land  that  belonged  to  the 
estates  would  be  divided  among  the  peasants  and  all 
that  the  rich  in  the  country  possessed  was  the  prop- 
erty of  the  poor.  It  was  strange  talk  and  a  new 
order  that  came  home  to  the  village,  but  much  of  it 
sounded  very  seductive  and  was  not  hard  to  grasp 
and  it  was  accordingly  brought  into  execution. 

First  the  peasants  took  up  the  task  of  dividing 
the  land.  It  had  suddenly  become  unreasonable  to 
put  off^  until  tomorrow  what  could  be  done  today. 


Village  Bolshevism  55 

'  « 

The  older  peasants  in  great  excitement  walked 
around  on  the  unfenced  areas,  calculated  by  rule  of 
thumb,  paced  off  distances  and  began  from  the  be- 
ginning again  when  they  lost  track  of  their  count. 
For  the  worst  of  the  work  a  sort  of  surveyor  from 
Ardatof  was  fetched.  It  may  not  have  been  abso- 
lutely fair  but  neither  was  it  wholly  unreasonable. 
It  so  chanced  that  the  rich  peasants  got  most.  But 
sufficient  consideration  was  given  to  those  who  were 
still  at  the  front  or  who  were  prisoners  of  war. 
They  had  families  who  looked  out  for  their  interests. 
When  the  division  of  the  land  was  at  an  end, 
conscience  and  remorse  awoke  but  along  with  it  was 
the  desire  to  own  and  bequeath  the  good  land  that 
had  been  won  so  easily  and  free  from  debt.  The 
rational  thing  to  do  was  to  get  rid  of  the  evil  and 
danger  at  its  root.  Realistically  endowed  as  the 
Great  Russians  are  and  with  their  feelings  shrouded 
in  such  dim  clouds,  it  did  not  take  the  peasants  long 
to  come  to  the  conclusion  that  the  estate  should  be 
destroyed.  In  this  way  would  vanish  the  apparent 
and  material  possibility  that  the  masters  would  ever 
return.  After  large  and  repeated  councils  in  front 
of  the  church,  action  was  finally  taken.  The  ani- 
mals on  the  estate  were  the  first  to  be  parcelled  out. 
This  was  an  involved  exchange  and  one  that  took 
many  weeks  before  it  came  to  an  end,  as  the  old 
miracle  of  the  loaves  and  the  fishes  did  not  repeat  it- 
self at  this  unholy  occasion.  As  every  family  had 
to  have  its  share  of  the  cattle  and  horses,  they  found 


56  The  Red  Garden 

-  ■  - -  I     II I  ■     ■  _      ■  _  I 

it  necessary  to  dig  down  to  their  own  hens  and  geese 
as  small  change  in  order  to  bring  about  a  settlement. 
And  when  a  sow  gave  birth  to  a  litter  and  a  mare  had 
a  colt  while  the  division  was  in  process,  a  new  and 
unexpected  strife  arose  as  to  who  should  have  the 
offspring.  A  great  prize  stallion  proved  to  be  an  un- 
solvable  bone  of  contention.  There  was  nothing 
left  to  do  but  to  hit  it  on  the  head  and  divide  the 
skin  and  the  meat.  In  this  way  peace  and  justice 
were  given  all  due  consideration. 

After  the  animals  came  the  turn  of  the  farm 
machinery.  But  most  of  it  would  not  do  for  the  or- 
dinary husbandry  which  still  does  its  work  with  the 
sickle  and  the  wooden  plow.  So  on  that  account 
they  were  broken  up  for  the  iron  in  them  and  the 
pieces  dealt  out.  The  less  heavy  furniture  and 
household  articles  were  also  divided  up  and  in  the 
library  any  one  could  help  himself  if  he  felt  so  in- 
clined. Of  course  it  wasn't  easy  to  figure  out  what 
the  books  could  be  used  for  and  for  that  reason  I 
could  buy,  in  Terakovo,  at  postojanoje  dwor  where  I 
drank  tea,  the  15th.  volume  of  Balzac^s  Oeuvres 
Completes  and  the  67th.  of  Voltaire's  for  fifty  ko- 
pecks each.  When  there  was  nothing  left  on  the  es- 
tate that  could  not  be  used  in  an  ordinary  peasant's 
house,  the  place  was  set  afire  and  when  I  saw  it  only 
the  blackened  walls  with  their  sorrowful  window 
openings  were  standing.  The  trees  too,  nearest  to 
the  ruins,  were  badly  scorched  but  nevertheless  green 


Village  Bolshevism  57 

branches  here  and  there  strained  upwards  after  the 
sun.  .  .  . 

Bolshevism  had  conquered;  not  its  teachings,  its 
ideas  or  its  leaders.  It  conquered  in  the  action  by 
which  the  village  burned  its  boats,  and  at  the  same 
time  burned  its  complicity  into  its  own,  stupid,  slug- 
gish heart. 

The  peasant  is  not  Bolshevik;  he  is  nothing.  He 
has  only  ordinary  ideas  and  conceptions  of  privilege. 
He  believes  in  a  Tsar.  Kozjain  nada,  says  he,  for  he 
knows  that  even  the  smallest  undertaking  needs  a 
master.  Then  too,  under  the  Tsar  there  were  manu- 
factures and  real  money.  But  if  the  Tsar  was  the 
empire  and  religion  peace  and  quiet,  he  was  also 
domestic  discipline,  punishment  and  reckoning.  To- 
wards Bolshevism  the  peasant  feels  an  instinctive 
distrust;  it  is  new  and  has  come  in  a  time  of  mis- 
fortune. And  yet  he  does  not  declare  himself 
against  it,  for  it  is  a  guarantee  against  the  gendarmes 
and  the  cossacks,  against  retribution  and  the  rein- 
-  statement  of  his  former  rulers.  Reason,  the  inner 
voice  and  tradition  were  arrayed  against  the  emotions 
and  the  nearest  danger.  And  the  emotions  won  as 
they  always  do.  And  while  the  peasants  wait  on  the 
future  and  bear  the  day's  burden  and  want  with  a 
heavy  and  silent  heart,  they  prudently  let  the  vast 
new  fields  lie  fallow.  One  can  never  tell — and  it 
would  indeed  be  a  sin  and  shame  to  waste  the  seed 
and  let  the  master  reap  what  the  peasant  has  sowed. 


58  The  Red  Garden 


But  it  was  no  use  letting  gloomy  thoughts  dwell  on 
the  mbrrow.  The  new  times  were  not  without  the 
joys  of  the  moment.  As  for  example  when  the  big 
distillery  in  Ard'atof  was  plundered.  Home  made 
whiskey  is  good  enough  for  ordinary  use  of  course 
but  in  the  Tsar's  good  old  Vodka,  none  of  which  was 
sold  during  the  war,  there  was  nevertheless  more 
festivity.  So  when  the  peasants  in  Terakovo  heard 
that  now  things  were  wide  open  at  the  liquor  ware- 
house in  Ardatof,  they  started  from  where  they 
walked  and  stood  and  lay.  On  horse,  foot  and  in 
wagons,  the  Women  and  children  last,  but  all  drag- 
ging, riding  and  driving  with  all  they  could  bring 
with  them  of  piggins  and  pails,  jugs  and  jars.  Many 
thousands  of  people  were  all  headed  for  Ardatof  as 
if  to  a  great  lire  or  to  a  Kazanian  procession  for  the 
Virgin  Mary.  They  drank  well  and  fast  and  long 
but  there  was  so  much  more  Vodka,  both  in  gallons 
and  in  bottles  and  in  pure  spirits  in  barrels  in  the 
great  warehouse,  than  was  possible  to  drink  at  a 
stretch,  even  if  all  were  to  and  did  get  thoroughly 
drunk.  Much  was  spilled  during  the  debauch  and 
the  whole  distillery  was  destroyed,  but  still  there 
was  a  great  deal  left  and  some  of  it  they  tried  to 
bring  home  to  the  neighbouring  villages.  Outside 
of  Terakovo,  two  wagons  broke  down  under  the 
weight  of  the  mighty  liquor  barrels.  The  wheels 
went  completely  to  pieces  and  the  liquor  ran  out  on 
the  field  where  for  a  long  time  it  lay  like  an  entire 
lake  before  it  drained  into  the  ground.     But  many 


Village  Bolshevism  59 

>  . 

who  had  not  gotten  so  sufficient  a  supply  and  who 
were  thoroughly  addicted  to  drink,  opinioned  that  it 
was  a  shame  that  so  much  good  stuff  should  go  to 
waste.  They  set  about  filtering  the  earth  through 
which  the  liquor  had  recently  sunk  and  the  result 
of  their  labours  was  a  not  inconsiderable  quantity  of 
a  yellowish  and  somewhat  earthy  fluid.  To  be  sure, 
it  did  not  taste  quite  as  it  should  but  it  had  an  exhil- 
arating and  pow:erful  effect  for  all  that.  After  sev- 
eral days'  happy  partaking  of  this  drink  the  parties 
concerned  were  stricken  by  a  slight  indisposition 
which  however  quickly  developed  into  a  species  of 
typhus.  This  typhus  took  on  so  many  complications 
that  according  to  an  Austrian  regimental  surgeon,  a 
prisoner,  who  had  the  opportunity  of  observing  this 
disease  on  the  spot,  the  patients  galloped  through 
most  of  the  internally  treated  sicknesses  ere  they  be- 
came blind  and  raving  and  at  last  began  to  rot  before 
they  really  died.  In  this  way  over  five  hundred  peo- 
ple died  in  Terakovo  in  the  course  of  three  weeks — . 

Before  I  left  the  camp  at  Terakovo  I  witnessed  a 
catastrophe  that  may  not  be  unusual  for  Russia  but 
which  for  a  stranger  involuntarily  becomes  a  remem- 
brance. Terakovo  caught  fire.  It  happened  as  I 
shall  now  tell. 

A  Hungarian  lived  in  Terakovo  who  went  by  the 
name  of  Ivan.  He  was  not  the  only  prisoner  of  war 
in  the  village  but  he  occupied  a  distinct  place  and 
it  was  a  long  time  since  he  had  been  a  common 
servant  and  thrall.     The  peasants  held  him  in  high 


60  The  Red  Garden 

>  < 

esteem.     Among  other  things  he  had,  when  the  land 
was  being  divided,  shown  a  fund  of  knowledge  and 
ability  that  had  been  of  benefit  to  the  whole  village. 
He  was  a  handsome,  dark-haired  fellow,  that  I  can 
say,  although  I  have  only  seen  his  corpse,  and  he  was 
the  father  of  a  number  of  children  around  in  the 
village,  which  could  not  fail  to  knit  him  more  closely 
to    the    families.     He    finally    married    a    soldier's 
widow  and  took  the  place  of  father  to  her  two  chil- 
dren about  the  same  time  that  she  presented  him 
with  a  third  one  of  his  own.     He  had  adopted  the 
orthodox  belief  and  wore  under  his   shirt  a  cross 
suspended  from  a   string  around  his  neck  just  as 
the  real  Russians.     Also  he  was  a  good  friend  of 
the  pope  for  whom  he  procured  beer  and  old  vodka 
from  a  commissar  in  Ardatof.     He  spoke  Russian  so 
well  that  it  was  difficult  to  hear  that  he  was  a  for- 
eigner.    When  he  married  the  widow  the  peasants 
made  him  a  member  of  the  Mir,  the  village  society, 
an  honour  very  rarely  shown  extra-parochial  Rus- 
sians.    Yet,  I  have  spoken  with  two  other  prisoners 
who  had  had  just  as  good  fortune  as  Ivan;  having 
while  the  war  still  was  going  on,  been  accepted  in 
their  village  as  real  peasants  where  they  could  have 
married  had  they  wished.     Ivan  had,  during  the  di- 
vision of  the  property,  been  given  the  position  of 
arbiter.     And  as  he  constantly  represented  the  means 
of  procuring  for  the  village  through  barter  with  his 
friend   the  commissar  in   Ardatof,    sugar   and   tea, 
nails,  calico  and  simlilar  scarce  wares,  his  position 


Village  Bolshevism  61 

and  authority  were,  in  consideration  of  his  age  and 
extraction,  quite  unusual. 

Now  the  dramatic,  which  in  Russia  is  common- 
place even  if  it  is  elsewhere  rare  and  hard  to  be- 
lieve, happened:  the  husband,  Sergeij  Petrovitch, 
looked  upon  as  dead,  came  home  to  the  village.  He 
was  sallow  and  yellow  as  a  corpse  but  otherwise 
quite  alive.  He  had  been  in  prison  in  Kiev  and  had 
during  that  time  been  sentenced  to  death  for  some 
breach  of  discipline  but  had  been  pardoned  or  for- 
gotten. At  any  rate  no  one  heard  from  him.  When 
the  Bolsheviki  in  February,  1918,  occupied  Kiev,  he 
was  released  together  with  all  the  other  prisoners. 
After  three  months  of  wandering  and  interrupted 
travel  by  train,  he  had  now  reached  home  and  de- 
nianded  that  which  was  his. 

If  he  had  come  back  as  a  ghost  he  would  prob- 
ably have  been  met  with  sympathy  and  understand- 
ing. Ghosts  as  a  rule  are  harmless  and  easy  to  get 
along  with.  As  he  came,  a  living  apparition,  he  was 
highly  inconvenient  and  unwelcome,  and  he  barely 
won  their  tolerance.  There  was  entirely  too  much 
that  spoke  for  his  having  remained  away.  Even 
his  old  friends  gave  him  the  cold  shoulder  and  turned 
away  when  they  saW  him  coming.  His  own  children 
did  not  know  him  and  his  wife  sought  shelter  back  of 
the  Hungarian  who  looked  right  through  him  and 
around  him  but  did  not  let  him  come  in.  He  slept 
in  an  outhouse  and  there  at  least  the  dog  licked  his 
hand  as  of  old  that  of  the  returning  Odysseus. 


62  The  Red  Garden 


The  third  day  after  his  arrival  he  went  away  and 
when  he  came  back  he  was  armed.  He  had  a  rifle 
on  his  shoulder  and  his  pockets  full  of  cartridges. 
He  entered  his  house  and  shot  the  Hungarian  with  a 
revolver.  A  bullet  pierced  Ivan's  neck  and  severed 
his  windpipe.  The  body  he  threw  out  on  the  street 
where  it  lay  for  a  long  time  and  was  a  source  of 
nausea  to  the  inhabitants,  while  the  hogs  gathered 
and  bit  at  it. 

The  woman,  who  carried  her  and  the  Hunga- 
rian's baby  at  her  breast,  Sergeij  did  not  harm  and 
she  met  fate  with  bowed  head.  Ivan  had  been  more 
handsome  but  still  Sergeij  was  her  first  husband  and 
her  only  one  now  that  the  other  was  dead.  And 
undeniably  to  him  belonged  the  hut,  the  land,  the 
livestock  and  the  lives  of  her  and  her  children.  For 
all  parties  concerned  it  was  best  that  she  and  Sergeij 
agreed  and  agreeing  kept  that  which  was  theirs. 

As  for  the  peasants,  well,  they  remembered  that 
that  which  is  done  can  not  be  undone  and  despite 
regret  they  were  not  disinclined  to  accept  the  accom- 
plished. In  that  respect  primitive  diplomacy  is  not 
one  jot  behind  the  most  modern.  Now  that  he,  Ivan, 
Was  dead,  it  was  on  second  thought  also  more  appar- 
ent that  he  had  been  an  outsider  and  a  prisoner  of 
war,  while  Sergeij  was  Russian  and  bom  in  the  vil- 
lage and  obviously  in  the  right. 

But  Ivan's  friend,  the  commissar  in  Ardatof,  felt 
the  loss  of  his  comrade  of  battle,  and  of  war  im- 
prisonmentj  a  fellow  countryman  and  a  useful  con- 


Village  Bolshevism  63 

I —  I 

nection  in  Terakovo.  He  was  burning  to  revenge 
the  murder  and  came  to  Terakovo  himself  with  thirty 
Red  Guards  and  a  machine  gun.  When  the  peasants 
perceived  that  neither  contributions  nor  requisitions  of 
grain  were  wanted,  and  that  their  lives  and  their 
property  were  not  threatened,  they  concluded  to 
render  the  stronger  part  friendly  neutrality.  To  this 
point  of  view,  the  growing  feeling  that  Sergeij  had 
at  Ivan's  death  come  into  an  inordinately  large  in- 
heritance, very  naturally  contributed. 

Sergeij 's  house  was  surrounded  and  while  the  Red 
Guards  consulted  among  each  other  as  to  how  they 
should  begin,  a  shot  suddenly  crashed  out,  followed 
by  others  and  in  the  same  instant  a  soldier  toppled  to 
the  ground,  dead.  The  others  at  once  took  cover. 
After  many  hours  of  careful  skirmishing  and  ad- 
vancing, Sergeij  had  run  out  of  ammunition  and  they 
were  able  to  dash  in  and  make  an  end  of  him. 

Inside  the  house  the  wife  and  the  two  half -grown 
children  lay  dead.  Whether  Sergeij  had  shot  them 
or  they  had  been  struck  by  bullets  from  without  was 
never  cleared  up.  Either  was  possible  as  the  hut 
was  as  full  of  holes  as  an  old  target.  Only  the 
Hungarian's  infant  still  lived ;  it  lay  silent  by  the  side 
of  its  dead  mother.  It  would  have  undeniably  have 
been  more  convenient  if  it  too  had  gone  hence  but — 
schto  djelat,  what  was  to  be  done  about  it?  It  lived 
and  took  its  place  as  a  belated  twin  at  a  peasant  girl's 
breast. 

But  the  same  afternoon  the  village  burned,  that  is 


64  The  Red  Garden 

%    ■■^■1       II  ■       I  I  II.  I  I      ■■»■» »        ■      ■—■II     11     I    Ml  I  I 

one  half  of  it,  for  the  wind  was  favourable.  Sergeij 
had  set  his  hay  afire  before  he  gave  himself  up  to  the 
revenge  of  his  enemies.  When  the  flames  were  first 
seen  bursting  out  of  the  barn  it  was  too  late  to  put 
them  out.  All  hurried  to  their  homes,  to  drive  out 
the  cattle,  save  the  children  and  the  samovar  and 
what  else  there  was  time  for  before  the  fire  hemmed 
in  all  it  could  reach  with  its  swift,  clamorous  flames. 

I  got  there  just  as  the  fire  was  burning  fiercely  and 
on  this  occasion  I  heard  the  whole  story  from  a 
Viennese  who  had  been  in  the  expedition  against 
Sergeij.  We  stood  outside  the  town  and  watched  it 
burn.  The  Viennese  was  deeply  moved  and  said  a 
number  of  times,  sighing:  "If  only  people  could  live 
at  peace  with  one  another!" 

The  conflagration  itself  was  less  impressive  than 
the  descriptions  usually  given  that  kind  of  occur- 
rences by  writers,  who  in  sheer  eager  imagination  let 
themselves  be  enticed  into  the  fiery  ocean  and  see  it 
all  from  within  and  in  the  middle  of  the  element's 
blustering  fury.  I,  outside  where  the  wind  blew 
away  from  me,  saw  nothing  other  than  a  dark,  gi- 
gantic wall  of  smoke  from  the  depths  of  which  came  a 
monotonous  soughing.  Once  in  a  while  the  smoke 
was  tinged  lilac  or  violet  but  no  flames  were  visible. 
If  any  horrors  were  taking  place  within,  we  saw  noth- 
ing of  them.  Once  a  pig  came  running  out  of  the 
smoke  and  right  at  us.  It  was  black  but  it  may  have 
been  so  by  nature  and  there  was  apparently  nothing 
the  matter  with  it.     When  the  fire  was  at  its  height 


Village  Bolshevism  65 

we  saw  nothing  other  than  a  bright,  almost  white 
haze. 

That,  which  burned,  burned  thoroughly  and  to  the 
ground.  Nothing  but  ashes  on  the  bare  ground  was 
left  of  one  half  of  Terakovo.  Of  that  which  had 
been  caught  in  the  fire,  as  for  example  the  bodies  of 
Sergeij  and  his  family,  scarcely  a  trace  was  to  be 
seen.  As  soon  as  the  next  morning  the  peasants  were 
walking  gingerly  over  the  warm  earth  while  they 
poked  in  the  ashes  and  pushed  at  the  blackened, 
partly-plastered  stone  foundations.  They  searched 
for  the  places  where  their  houses  had  been  and  had 
great  difficulty  in  finding  them.  But  most  of  them 
no  doubt  had  a  little  treasure  of  gold,  silver,  or  cop- 
per money  and  old  Tsar  notes  buried  somewhere. 
And  that  which  is  underground  does  not  burn. 

Before  I  went  away  I  stopped  to  see  the  Hunga- 
rian's child.  It  was  a  little  boy  with  beautiful  brown 
eyes  and  hair  that  was  already  dark.  He  smiled, 
which  Russian  infants  hardly  ever  do.  He  lay  in  a 
basket  that  hung,  suspended  by  a  string,  from  the 
ceiling  of  the  room.  I  bade  the  young  foster- 
mother  take  good  care  of  him. 

And  if  he  isn't  dead,  he  is  still  living  and  will 
some  time  become  a  little  wave  on  the  crest  of  the 
ocean,  a  life  in  the  swarm  of  humanity  and  a  soldier 
in  the  host  which  Russia  will  once  again  raise  when 
it  resumes  its  march  to  the  sea. 


Russian  Cavalry 

THERE  is  a  window  open  in  a  house  on  the  fash- 
ionable and  palatial  Millionaja,  aristocracy's 
street  in  Petrograd  with  the  golden,  clinking 
name.  The  air  between  the  red  and  yellow  walls  is 
full  of  clattering  hoof-beats.  A  lancer  regiment  is 
marching  by  on  its  way  to  the  parade  ground  at  the 
Winter  Palace  where  it  is  to  pass  in  review  before  it 
leaves  for  the  front.  The  colonel  rides  first.  But 
he  is  no  old,  peace-time  colonel  with  white  whiskers, 
high  red  collar  pricking  his  chin,  drooping  stomach 
and  gouty  toes  cramped  in  his  riding  boots.  The 
commander  of  the  regiment  is  a  dashing  and  khaki- 
coloured  warrior  whose  moustache  curves  like  a  dark 
sickle  against  his  sunburnt  face.  His  breast  is  cov- 
ered by  various  grades  of  the  Order  of  St.  George 
with  their  black  and  orange  ribbons.  Two  narrow 
rows  of  brightness  carry  the  French,  English,  Bel- 
gian and  Serbian  colours  and  on  the  tunic  below  his 
heart,  the  red  Vladimir  sparkles.  The  heavy  sabre, 
doubtless  an  heirloom,  with  its  long  silver  hilt  and 
black  leather  scabbard  with  Caucasian  silver-work,  is 
set  off  by  his  black  riding  breeches  and  brand  new 
patent  leather  boots.  He  is  riding  a  black  thorough- 
bred that  looks  as  if  it  might  at  any  moment  execute 
a  dance  on  its  hind  legs  and  roll  its  eyes  coquettishly 

and  foam  at  the  bit,  while  it  in  reality  goes  along 

66 


Russian  Cavalry  67 

like  a  lamb  and  only  for  appearances'  sake  does  it 
jump  sideways  and  make  the  spurs  necessary.  On 
the  colonel's  left  rides  the  adjutant,  tall  and  slender, 
handsome  as  a  young  girl's  dream.  He  wears  a 
shining  cross  of  the  Order  of  St.  George  and  on  his 
shoulders  the  long  white  braids  with  their  golden 
tassels.  Red  and  white  vie  in  his  complexion.  His 
face  is  open  and  yet  slightly  dreamy.  Its  insou- 
ciance is  bathed  as  by  the  glow  of  a  recent  parting. 
A  parting  he  has  already  forgotten. 

Next  ride  the  musicians  with  their  Balalaika  in- 
struments and  after  them  the  entire  regiment  passes 
by,  great  strong  fellows  on  small  Russian  horses. 
The  first  section  of  each  squadron  carry  the  long 
lances  at  their  backs.  These  are  weapons  that  can 
be  seen,  this  forest  of  thick  poles  that  in  slanting 
lines  rule  off  the  sky.  Some  of  the  lances  have 
streamers  but  most  of  them  are  bare  and  only  the 
short  steel  points  flash  in  the  sunlight.  The  other 
section  have  only  carbines  but  all  are  armed  with 
the  Russian  cavalry  sabre,  yellow  and  black,  hang- 
ing from  new  raw-coloured  leather  bandoliers.  The 
majority  of  the  horsemen  are  young  men,  long 
downy-lipped  country  boys,  blond  and  red  haired, 
almost  white  haired,  pock  marked,  freckled  or  cov- 
ered with  ripe  pimples;  their  features  are  about 
as  flippant  and  mischievous  and  thoughtful  as  slices  of 
French  bread.  But  among  the  many  grown  up  man- 
pups  who  still  gape  unrestrainedly  at  the  world 
through  their  light  blue  goggle  eyes,  ride  small  com- 


68  The  Red  Garden 

pact  Tartars  with  blackish-brown  polished  eyes, 
smooth  hair  and  a  latent  fatness  hidden  in  the  nice 
rounded  cheeks.  And  here  and  there  ride  types  of 
the  pure  Mongolian  with  flat  noses,  dark-yellow 
cheek  bones  and  wiry  pig  tail  shocks  of  hair,  and  on 
the  extreme  flank  ride  real  horsemen,  old  cavalry- 
men with  their  caps  set  precariously  on  back  of  their 
heads  while  their  thick  hair  in  front  is  combed  for- 
ward in  an  oily  and  ringleted  lock  that  hovers  over 
their  forehead  like  an  immense  hair  puff"  or  stiff" 
streamer  and  divides  the  impression  of  their  owner 
into  warrior  and  petticoat  pensioner. 

The  first  squadron  ride  brown  horses,  the  second 
have  black,  then  come  the  brown  again.  The  fourth 
however,  is  composed  entirely  of  white  horses — only 
the  little  colts  that  run  by  their  dams,  tripping  and 
shambling  along,  with  their  comical  canine  body 
swaying  on  the  four  long  soft  legs,  provide  an  occa- 
sional variation  in  colour.  But  before  them,  of 
course,  the  cavalry  regulations  are  powerless.  The 
small,  Russian  horses  are  said  to  be  too  light  for  the 
big  cavalry  onslaughts  where  weight  determines  su- 
periority and  outcome.  But  they  have  the  sweetest 
short  noses  and  long  manes  that  hang  into  the  kind- 
est and  most  patient  eyes.  No  other  animal  deserves 
the  love  of  man  more  than  the  little  Russian  horse 
that  trots  faithfully  along  without  ever  stopping  to 
think  that  its  rider  too  has  legs.  It  endures  treat- 
ment that  would  strike  the  larger  stall-fed  horses 
with  a  score  of  incurable  ailments.  ...     It  stands 


Russian  Cavalry  69 

I  —  I 

out  in  the  coldest  of  winter  with  a  snowstorm  liter- 
ally on  top  of  it.  It  is  thoughtlessly  used,  mis- 
used, beaten  and  starved  and  never  balks  but  is 
equally  undismayed  and  kind-eyed  up  to  the  day, 
when  face  to  face  with  the  moment's  impossibility, 
it  stretches  out  its  legs  to  die,  as  unostentatious  and 
unassuming  in  death  as  it  was  during  its  life  of  toil. 
And  yet — on  an  attempt  to  pet  it  and  rub  its  nose,  it 
turns  its  head  away  and  one  becomes  aware  that  the 
Russian  horse  does  not  understand  that  kind  of  famil- 
iarity because  its  instinct  for  caresses  has  never 
been  awakened.  The  mares  foal  every  year  and 
their  colts,  too,  are  something  apart.  They  are  not 
like  other  playful,  lazy,  light-hearted  colts  that  roll 
on  their  backs  and  waggle  their  legs.  From  the  very 
moment  of  their  birth  they  are  a  collection  of  small, 
shaggy,  reticent  creatures  with  wise  old  eyes,  that 
totter  along  where  their  mothers  go  and  if  born  in 
the  regiment,  run,  on  the  march,  in  war  and  to  parade 
along  the  column's  flank,  generally  mouthing  and 
drooling,  engrossed  in  the  one  thing  that  to  them  is 
life's  infallible  meaning;  to  be  abreast  of  the  good 
mother  milk  should  there  be  a  pause  in  the  march. 

Now  the  Balalaika  band  plays.  But  it  is  no  mar- 
tial melody  they  play,  for  in  that  sense  the  Russians 
are  no  warlike  people.  They  can  be  put  into  the 
ranks,  but  at  heart  they  are  wanderers.  The  songs 
they  know  are  the  sorrowful  and  little  varied  hymns 
that  with  fascinating  melancholy  still  convey  some  of 
the    repetitive    rhythm    of    primitive    people.     This 


70  The  Red  Garden 

'  ;; ; < 

music  acts  with  entrancing  and  suggestive  force  on 
the  most  sluggish  soul  and  penetrates  all  the  culture 
of  the  sophisticated.  As  it  fills  the  heart,  it  opens 
vistas  of  the  great  plains  with  their  many  hundred 
thousand  homes,  of  the  mainland  where  Volga  the 
Great  Mother  flows,  and  of  the  vast  steppes  where  the 
Calmucks  and  the  Kirghiz  still  shift  their  tents. 
And  when  the  Balalaika  dies  out,  singing  is  heard 
from  the  regiment,  first  a  leading  voice  and  then  a 
little  chorus,  in  which  the  individual  is  still  rasp- 
ingly  felt,  and  then  the  whole  regiment  joins  in  and 
the  raw  primitive  voices  mingle  in  a  solemn  and 
mighty  chant,  quite  the  opposite  of  any  student  sing- 
ing society  in  its  naive  vocal  abandonment  to  that 
no  thought  and  purpose  which  is  the  festive  mood  in 
all  folk  song. 

After  the  squadrons  come  riders  with  led  horses, 
and  field  cars  with  hay  in  large,  flat  pressed  bales, 
wagons  with  arms  and  equipment,  horses  with  ma- 
chine guns  on  their  backs  and  more  carts  with  lances, 
brass  instruments  and  ammunition  boxes  and  last 
the  field  kitchens,  horses,  men,  and  more  wagons  and 
little  colts.  And  when  the  whole  procession  had 
passed  and  the  street  again  was  quiet,  a  belated  rider 
came  darting  by  on  a  little  horse.  He  posted  in  his 
saddle  like  a  rubber  man,  not  a  beat  behind  the  ani- 
mal's movements  although  the  horse  flashed  like  a 
dark  flame  over  the  cobble  stones,  its  mane  flying  in 
the  wind,  the  sparks  spreading  fans  of  fire  where  its 
hoofs  struck  and  raising  a  din  like  a  minute-long 


Russian  Cavalry  '     71 

^  ■  ■  ..11  ■  I  ■    I        »■  ■  — ■■  ■  ■ ,  ■        .  I  ,  i 

storm  of  hail  and  thunder.  They  can  run  too,  these 
small  Russian  horses,  they  place  their  small  strong 
legs  to  the  pavement  like  slender  steel  rods  beating 
in  raging  tempo,  where  the  big  dragoon  horses  would 
wince  as  if  their  hoofs  were  corns  supporting  their 
own  oat-stuffed  weight. 

Thus  the  Russian  cavalry  went  to  the  front. 

A  year  later  they  came  home  again.  It  was  dur- 
ing the  days  of  the  negotiations  at  Brest-Litovsk. 
The  war  was  over  as  far  as  the  Russians  were  con- 
cerned, long  before  peace  was  signed  and  irrespec- 
tive of  whether  it  ever  would  be.  A  special  commis- 
sariat sat  in  Moscow  and  demobilized  the  army,  but 
the  regiment  came  back  to  Kazan,  where  it  had  its 
permanent  garrison,  in  two  Tjepluska  trains  which 
it  had  requisitioned  and  brought  through  by  the  aid 
of  a  few  and  effective  gestures  with  revolvers  when 
the  track  could  not  be  cleared  quickly  enough. 
There  were  ten  horses  in  each  Tjepluska  and  the  sol- 
diers were  installed  in  cars,  which  if  one  could  judge 
by  the  Roman  numerals,  had  at  one  time  been  first 
class  sleepers  but  when  they  arrived  in  Kazan  only 
the  walls  and  that  which  was  nailed  fast  remained  of 
all  that  at  one  time  had  been  plush  and  pillows,  con- 
veniences and  bathroom  porcelain.  From  the  sta- 
tion they  rode  up  the  Voskresenskaja,  the  main  street 
in  Kazan  that  reaches  from  the  university  to  the  old 
Kremlin  with  the  Tartar  tower.  The  dashing  col- 
onel was  missing,  the  adjutant  not  there  either.     No 


72  The  Red  Garden 

officers  at  all  were  to  be  seen,  for  those  that  possibly 
might  be  left,  had  no  more  shoulder  straps  or  marks 
of  distinction.  In  front  rode  a  red-headed  soldier 
and  on  a  black  thoroughbred  was  a  sailor  in  a  navy 
cap  with  long  yellow  and  black  ribbons,  a  seaman's 
blouse  and  wide  uniform  trousers.  It  was  a  curious 
sight  to  see  a  sailor  on  horse-back  and  the  animal 
reared  and  snorted  under  him  but  he  sat  as  if 
moulded  to  the  saddle  and  conversed  imperturbably 
with  his  companion.  He  carried  no  other  weapon 
than  a  heavy  Browning  at  his  belt.  The  squadrons 
were  now  made  up  without  regard  to  the  colour  of 
the  horses  but  went  according  to  the  friendship  of 
the  riders.  No  one  carried  lances  any  more,  why 
drag  along  those  heavy  flag  poles  that  were  anything 
but  fit  for  offensive  purposes.  The  majority  of  them, 
however,  had  secured  pistols  which  they  wore  in  hol- 
sters strapped  to  their  waists,  preferably  gendar- 
merie revolvers  with  a  bright  red  lanyard  that  went 
from  a  ring  in  the  butt  up  around  the  neck.  It  ap- 
pealed to  their  love  of  colour  and  made  such  a  fine 
ornamental  effect. 

The  regiment  clattered  up  the  street  in  all  kinds 
of  gaits  and  paces.  The  horses  still  kept  place 
where  they  could  but  the  men  were  impatient  and 
broke  ranks  to  get  by  one  and  ahead  of  another,  or 
they  suddenly  turned  their  horses  and  rode  back 
amid  tumult  and  laughter  and  abuse.  Many  rode 
up  on  the  sidewalks  and  banged  gaily  away  with  re- 
volvers and  carbines.     The  bullets  whizzed  through 


Russian  Cavalry  73 

the  air  in  all  directions  and  some  flattened  them- 
selves on  the  chimneys  while  others  crashed  through 
the  windows  and  knocked  the  plaster  off"  ceilings  on 
the  third  floor.  The  colts  were  nearly  crazed  during 
this  bedlam  and  pandemonium  and  were  constantly 
becoming  separated  from  the  mares.  And  the  peo- 
ple of  the  town  fled  panic  stricken  around  the  corners 
or  if  they  had  not  gotten  quickly  enough  away, 
pressed  themselves  up  against  the  houses,  pale-faced 
and  praying  that  this  terrible  cavalry  would  be  well 
past  before  harm  came  to  them. 

When  the  horsemen  reached  the  barracks  on  the 
outskirts  of  the  town,  they  rode  their  mounts  right 
into  the  stables  and  up  into  the  stalls  and  remained  in 
the  saddle  while  they  put  halters  on  the  animals  and 
made  them  fast.  The  wagons  that  were  left  were 
run  together  in  a  bunch  in  the  court  and  there  they 
still  stand  but  sunk  in  the  ground  to  the  hubs.  The 
machine  guns  were  set  up  in  the  gateways  and  then 
all  started  investigating  the  barracks.  First  they  ate 
and  drank  what  could  be  discovered  and  prepared 
in  a  hurry  and  celebrated  their  homecoming  and  the 
new  liberty,  equality  and  fraternity  and  then  made 
preparations  for  spending  the  night.  The  sailor  and 
the  red-haired  one  took  the  colonel's  bed.  They 
sprawled  right  in  between  the  white  sheets  in  clothes 
and  boots,  spurs  and  weapons  and  the  others  lay 
down  to  rest  around  in  the  officers'  room.  But  many 
too,  merely  collapsed  in  the  officers'  mess  or  wher- 
ever they  happened  to  be  and  slept  it  off"  with  their 


74  The  Red  Garden 

heads  on  the  table  and  their  legs  on  the  floor  or  with 
their  heads  on  the  floor  and  their  legs  on  a  chair. 

As  long  as  there  was  plenty  to  eat  and  drink  in 
the  barracks,  a  tremendous  uproar  continued  to  come 
from  it  all  day  and  far  into  the  night.  The  inhabi- 
tants of  the  town  and  all  those  who  held  life 
dear,  kept  at  a  safe  distance  from  the  revels  that  so 
easily  became  excesses.  One  day  three  bullet-rid- 
dled soldiers  were  brought  to  the  hospital  and  some- 
thing like  a  half-score  men  were  hastily  buried,  the 
outcome  of  a  fight  that  arose  over  some  trivial  mis- 
understanding. The  barracks  were  in  a  frightful 
condition,  the  eagles  had  been  torn  from  the  door- 
ways, the  windows  were  knocked  out  or  shot  full  of 
stars,  the  white  plaster  had  fallen  off"  the  walls  in 
long  flakes,  the  furniture  was  splintered,  the  pictures 
in  the  officers'  mess  served  as  a  lodging  place  for 
bullets,  and  where  that  of  the  Tsar  had  hung  was 
now  a  picture  of  Lenin,  fastened  to  the  wall  with  four 
thumbtacks.  The  superintendent  who  had  been  sur- 
prised by  the  regiment  on  its  arrival  had  fled  and 
lay  hidden  in  a  cellar  in  Kazan.  He  said  that  the 
church  had  been  dumped  full  of  manure  and  that  the 
pope  had  been  tied  up  in  the  wheelwright's  smithy 
where  he  had  sat  and  licked  axle  grease,  before  he 
was  allowed  to  slip  away,  half  dead  from  hunger  and 
tliirst.  But  the  regimental  physician,  who  had  al- 
ways been  a  coarse  rascal,  the  wild  fellows  had 
fetched  from  the  town  and  manacled  to  a  sentry  box 


Russian  Cavalry  75 


where  he  remained  until  one  day  he  was  accidently 
shot. 

Gradually,  however,  the  homecomers  disappeared. 
The  Tartars  had  immediately  gone  to  their  homes; 
the  Turk  is  methodically  cruel  but  all  Bolshevik  ex- 
cesses are  foreign  to  his  phlegmatic  nature.  The 
rest  went,  singly  and  in  small  groups,  home  to  their 
villages.  The  leading  Bolsheviki  had  long  ago 
moved  into  the  town  and  lived  at  hotels  or  were  quar- 
tered at  the  houses  of  the  rich  citizens.  Others  also 
got  greater  or  lesser  commissions  in  the  administra- 
tion of  the  local  commissariats  or  of  the  soviet  gov- 
ernment. At  last  all  were  gone  and  the  great  bar- 
racks, waste  and  empty,  and  with  a  strange  burnt  out 
appearance  stood  in  its  desolate  field. 

But  the  uproar  did  not  abate,  on  the  contrary,  it 
continued,  and  increased.  It  became  a  heartrend- 
ing and  terrible  howl,  an  uninterrupted  finale  of 
shrill  screams,  that  might  have  been  the  neighing 
of  evil  spirits  who  had  into  the  bargain  been  stricken 
with  raging  insanity,  and  yet  it  was  only  the  horses 
who  stood  forgotten  in  the  long  stables  and  tugged 
at  their  halters  and  when  they  gave  way,  galloped 
back  and  forth,  trampling  down  all  that  lay  in  their 
path,  flaying  long  shreds  from  each  other  with  their 
long  flat  fore  teeth,  their  eyes  bloodshot,  and  no 
longer  animals  in  their  frightful  sufferings  from 
hunger  and  thirst.  The  people  in  the  town  heard 
and  some  of  them  wondered  perhaps,  but  who  in  the 


76  The  Red  Garden 

» — — — — — —  I 

world  was  going  to  risk  his  life  first  for  the  madmen 
who  might  still  be  holding  sway  out  there,  then  for 
the  still  more  insane  animals  which  the  devil  himself 
could  not  approach  in  the  condition  they  were  in 
now.  And  who  was  going  to  procure  tlie  hay,  and 
who  was  going  to  pay  for  it,  and  whose  business 
was  it  anyway — and  besides  the  noise  soon  grew 
weaker  and  at  last  died  quite  away  and  people  no 
longer  gave  a  thought  to  the  barracks,  where  no  one 
now  had  errands  and  which  not  even  attracted  thieves 
after  the  regiment  had  gotten  through  with  it. 

But  a  month  later,  as  the  weather  became  warmer, 
the  town  again  had  to  remember  the  barracks  and 
what  had  really  happened  there,  for  certain  winds 
carried  a  frightful  stench  through  the  streets,  yes, 
into  the  very  house.  It  became  so  bad  that  the  com- 
missariats had  to  take  a  hand  and  three  or  four  hun- 
dred prisoners  of  war,  of  those  who  had  not  al- 
ready enlisted  in  the  Red  Guard,  were  hurriedly 
driven  together  to  get  the  carcasses  out  of  the  way. 
It  was  a  hard  task,  the  ground  was  yet  too  frozen  to 
bury  them,  the  stinking  bodies  had  to  be  brought  out 
of  the  town  in  carts  to  be  flung  on  a  meadow  down 
by  the  Volga.  It  may  be  that  a  prisoner  or  two 
fainted  and  some  died  too,  but  then  prisoners  of  war 
die  so  easily  and  nobody  misses  them  and  anyway 
some  one  had  to  do  the  work  unless  all  were  to  pre- 
pare themselves  for  the  worst. 

Those  who  sailed  on  the  Volga  past  the  town  of 
Kazan  in  the  summer  and  autumn  of  1918  could  have 


Russian  Cavalry  77 

seen  great  flocks  of  birds  circle  over  a  certain  spot 
on  the  north  bank  of  the  river.  It  is  here  that  many- 
carcasses  were  brought  to  to  their  last  rest.  Here  I 
myself  have  seen  for  the  last  time  the  regiment  of 
cavalry  that  I  first  saw  from  a  beautiful  woman's 
window,  as  it  went  to  review*  before  the  red  Winter 
Palace.  Most  of  the  bodies  were  already  plucked  of 
all  flesh  and  the  last  bloody  shreds  were  drying  in  the 
summer  heat  upon  the  white  skeletons.  Fat  ravens 
still  sat  on  the  gruesome  skulls  and  picked  at  what- 
ever puddles  of  decayed  matter  there  was  left.  It 
was  a  beautiful  evening,  but  an  ugly  sight  to  see  these 
many  stripped  and  eyeless  skulls  guarded  by  these 
brazen  and  imperturbable  feathered  creatures,  and 
yet  my  thoughts  turned  most  to  the  little  colts  that 
were  always  so  unreasonably  sweet  and  which  I  al- 
ways wanted  to  pet  but  who  always  drew  their  heads 
away  and  wouldn't  understand  what  it  was  all  about. 


Galician  Jews 

IT  was  in  the  spring  of  1917  that  Denmark,  replac- 
ing the  Americans,  took  over  the  interests  of  the 
Austro-Hungarian  Empire  in  Russia.  Such  is 
the  diplomatic  expression  and  the  last  link  in  the 
official  chain  is  the  increase  of  foreign  grand  crosses 
and  orders  of  knighthood  in  the  court  calendar.  The 
reality  that  lies  between  is  a  book  the  size  of  the 
Bible,  a  gigantic  tragedy  and  a  comic  epos,  a  robber 
romance,  and  a  Divina  Commedia  that  took  place  in 
Hell  on  earth.  There  were  several  millions  of  sta- 
tistics of  which  only  a  few  still  exist.  Among  my 
countrymen  in  the  foreground  I  remember  people 
with  honest  faces,  also  people  who  looked  like 
scoundrels,  hypocritical  climbers,  and  swindlers  with 
the  Red  Cross  on  their  arms,  many  adventurers  and 
very  few  heroes. 

It  began  with  letters  that  in  increasing  streams 
poured  over  the  writing  desks  of  the  embassy.  Let- 
ters from  prisoners  of  war,  from  officers,  from  sol- 
diers, from  prison  camps  and  labour  battalions, 
from  jails  and  coal  mines,  from  Murman  and  Bok- 
hara, from  Habarovsk  on  the  Pacific  Ocean  to  Kras- 
novodsk  by  the  Caspian  Sea.  Letters  that  came  from 
Austro-Hungarian  subjects  whom  the  Russians  at  the 
outbreak  of  the  war  had  held  back,  deported  or  in- 
terned  by  the  thousands   or  whom  they  had   later 

78 


Galician  Jews  79 


dragged  along  with  them  on  their  successive  retreats 
into  Galicia  and  had  sent  further  east  to  Siberia  and 
to  the  stretches  of  the  Volga. 

I  still  dream  with  strong  distaste  of  the  mighty 
piles  of  fools-cap,  generalia  and  personalia,  of  the 
complaints  and  pleas  for  aid,  most  of  them  carefully 
worked  out  in  fancy  handwriting  either  with  small, 
fine  latin  letters  or  large  gothic  flourishing  ones,  in 
round  and  upright  writing  with  spirals  and  curls  and 
all  tlie  massive  etiquette  of  Austrian  bureaucracy  on 
both  sides  of  the  sheet.  But  there  were  also  others 
that  were  written  with  difficulty  and  mis-spelling  on 
small-chequered  letter  paper  and  where  the  Right 
Worshipful  Sir  in  the  salutation  was  replaced  by  the 
poor  man's  na'ive:  "Gnddige  Herr  Konsulai"'! 

But  the  contents  were  known  before  the  letters 
were  opened  for  it  was  always  distress  and  loss  and 
dire  straits  and  prayers  for  help  and  favourable  inter- 
vention. It  was  about  scurvy  and  frost  bites,  pay 
that  was  never  received,  and  mail  that  was  never  sent; 
about  brutal  Cossacks,  swindling  camp  officers,  inva- 
liding home  and  exchange.  It  was  of  sick  who  could 
not  get  operations  performed  and  others  who  de- 
manded credentials,  and  there  were  requests  for 
loans  and  impatient  questions  as  to  when  the  war 
would  end.  In  Ust-Syssolsk  they  had  no  bread,  in 
Tambof  the  civilian  prisoners  were  not  allowed  on 
the  streets  after  six  in  the  evening,  in  Petropavlovsk 
the  privates  among  the  officers  refused  to  salute  their 
officers,  in  the  camp  at  Totzkoje  half  the  camp  were 


80  The  Red  Garden 

dead  of  spotted  typhus,  and  in  Krasnojarsk  were 
fifteen  Austrian  officers  who  had  been  transported 
from  Moscow  to  Siberia  in  fourth  class  coaches! 

I  remember  the  young  civilian  prisoner  who  wrote 
that  he  would  soon  be  dead  of  tuberculosis  but 
would  like  to  marry  his  fiancee  in  Klagenfurt  ere  he 
did  die.  And  the  artiste  at  Rostof  who  at  the  out- 
break of  the  war  had  lost  all  his  registered  baggage, 
twenty  automatic  dolls  with  complete  wardrobe  .  .  . 
and  Dr.  Gold,  I  remember,  the  very  important  Rechts- 
anwalt  and  politician,  Dr.  Solomon  Gold  who  every 
week  day  sent  out  a  calligraphed  communication 
taking  up  four  pages  to  hasten  his  exchange  with  the 
illegitimate  son  of  a  grand-duke  and  two  pensioned 
Russian  generals  whom  the  war  had  surprised  in 
Carlsbad.  .  .  .  Every  day  new  affairs  that  resulted 
in  new  notes  on  glazed  paper  in  fine  French  style 
with  indexed  corners.  Notes  that  without  humour 
and  also  without  bitterness  always  ended  with  a  re- 
quest to  receive  an  answer  aussitot  que  possible — 
and  also  long  after  we  had  come  to  know  that  no 
favourable  answer  could  be  written.  It  was  a  task 
one  did  well  not  to  put  too  much  imagination  into, 
but  neither  is  it  in  that  manner  that  one  advances  in 
the   diplomatic  service. 

No  one  wrote  so  often  and  so  pitifully  as  the  Gali- 
cian  Jews.  When  I  think  of  these  I  must  still  ask 
myself  what  miracle  of  earthly  stupidity  possessed 
the  Russians  to  send  as  many  of  the  Galician  Jews 
as  they  could  manage  into  holy  Russia  and  its  de- 


Galician  Jews  81 


pendencies.  As  if  they  didn't  have  Jews  enough 
and  weren't  weary  of  them.  But  there  is  only  this 
explanation  that  just  as  certain  people  must  sneeze  in 
sunshine  so  the  Russians  could  not  stand  the  sight 
of  a  Jew  without  at  once  decreeing  over  him  and  mov- 
ing him  about.  During  the  war  large  portions  of 
the  German  and  Jewish  population  in  Poland  and 
the  East  Prussian  provinces  were  forcibly  sent  to- 
ward the  east  and  now  this  whole  extra  Ghetto  from 
East  Galicia  came  here,  mostly  old  men,  women  and 
children,  for  the  young  men  were  of  course  mobi- 
lized. Many  had  seen  their  homes  sacked  or  burned 
over  their  heads  by  Cossacks  or  by  Hungarian  hus- 
sars, which  was  still  worse.  Naturally  there  was  pri- 
vation and  wretchedness  among  them  and  they  pos- 
sessed a  marked  dislike  of  dying  unnoticed. 

They  wrote  continually,  on  all  kinds  of  paper,  in 
Russian,  in  Polish  and  in  German  and  with  a  great 
deal  of  Yiddish  among  it  no  matter  what  they  wrote. 
I  venture  to  guess  that  they  wrote  to  all  the  possible 
Jewish  relief  committees  in  the  world  from  New 
York  to  Cape  Town,  from  Copenhagen  to  Valparaiso. 
They  wrote  to  the  Red  Cross  and  to  the  authorities 
of  the  Russian  government,  high  and  low,  near  and 
distant,  who  were  not  awakened  by  much  louder  up- 
roar and  who  not  even  in  their  dreams  would  have 
done  anything  for  them.  They  wrote  at  last  to  us, 
their  official  accredited  guardians  within  the  Russian 
frontiers  and  described  in  monotonous  expressions 
their  hunger  and  their  sorrow,  their  sickness  and  bare 


82  The  Red  Garden 

( ■ , 

legs,  their  rags  and  their  lice  and  how  all  had  been 
stolen  from  them  and  they  had  been  allowed  to  earn 
nothing.  It  was  a  lamentation  and  a  moaning  that 
always  went  to  the  extremest  borders  of  suffering  and 
ended  with  sworn  assurances  of  death's  quick  com- 
ing, signed  by  Leib  and  Aaron,  Amster  and  Lobl,  by 
Regenstreif  and  Sonnenglanz,  Tichbein  and  Ruben- 
stein.  If  it  hadn't  been  laid  on  so  thick  it  would 
have  moved  a  stone. 

About  New  Year,  1918,  shortly  before  the  peace  at 
Brest-Litovsk,  the  repatriation  of  the  prisoners  not 
of  military  age  began.  At  first  only  those  who  were 
able  to  pay  at  least  part  of  the  travelling  expenses, 
were  allowed  to  go.  By  thousands  then,  Austro- 
Hungarian  civilian  prisoners  from  all  sections  of 
Russia  and  all  the  way  from  far  Siberia,  streamed  to 
the  embassy  at  Petrograd  and  also  to  the  consulates 
at  Moscow  and  Kiev.  And  none  came  more  quickly 
than  the  Galician  Jews.  In  the  old  rococo  palace 
in  the  Sergievskaja  where  the  Hapsburg  ambassa- 
dor had  resided,  they  stood  in  thick  swarms  on  the 
old  parquet  floors  that  now  were  warped  and  cracked 
from  want  of  care.  They  overflowed  out  into  the 
corridors  and  were  camped  all  the  way  down  the 
stairs  with  their  bundles  and  trunks  and  the  Pole, 
who  with  a  pale  face  and  clammy  from  nausea, 
Hooked  out  for  their  passports,  nearly  gave  up  the 
ghost  from  powerless  Anti-Semitism.  To  be  sure  we 
could  have  had  a  Jew  in  his  place  but  then  it  would 
have  been  impossible  to  hear  a  sound  for  the  squab- 


Galician  Jews  83 


ble  that  would  have  arisen,  and  time  was  precious. 
Now  they  were  content  to  exude  an  indescribable  and 
perfectly  absurd  stench,  the  stench  of  the  Ghetto,  and 
if  it  had  not  been  for  that,  we  from  the  north,  who 
never  before  had  seen  real  Jews,  would  have  thought 
it  all  a  dream  where  the  people  of  Israel,  who  await 
the  descent  of  Moses  from  the  mountain,  mingled  with 
the  portraits  on  the  walls  of  Aehrenthal  and  Franz 
Josef  and  with  Ivan,  the  lanky,  uniformed  "Swiss" 
at  the  door  of  the  embassy.  For  there  was  Jacob 
with  his  son  Benjamin,  and  there  Samuel,  and  there 
the  red  Aaron  and  there  the  faithful  Eliezer,  and 
yonder  a  Prophet  and  here  a  Pharisee.  Pale  Jews 
and  Jews  with  long  beards  and  curly  front  hair, 
black  and  reddish  Jews,  noses,  eyes,  and  flat  feet, 
dignified  Rabbis  who  held  their  gowns  together  about 
them,  "spitting"  Jews  and  old  handsome  Jews  with 
their  entirely  white  hair  in  cork-screw  curls  and 
with  rings  in  their  ears;  every  one  of  them  a  true 
picture  of  old  Isaac  in  Ivanhoe  whom  the  cruel  Nor- 
man has  his  black  slaves  lay  on  the  red  hot  gridiron. 
Jews  in  top  hats,  in  peaked  caps,  in  sable-brimmed 
plush  hats,  in  Astrakhan  fur  hats,  all  in  high  boots 
and  robes  of  wonderfully  good  cloth,  and  yet  as  they 
all  stood  there  together,  with  an  unmistakable  stamp 
of  almost  ragged  poverty  lying  in  the  soul  of  their 
blackish-brown  eyes. 

How  many  of  these  Galician  Jews  secured  pass- 
ports and  got  home  that  spring,  I  don't  know,  but  I 
believe  it  was  the  majority.     And  many  continued  to 


84  The  Red  Garden 

be  left.  When  I,  in  the  early  summer  came  to  Sim- 
birsk on  the  Volga,  there  was  still  a  great  deal  to  be 
done  in  securing  passports  for  those  civilian  priso- 
ners who  had  not  yet  gone  and  in  dividing  the  not 
plentiful  funds  among  the  most  needy.  Without  my 
good  secretary,  Dr.  Josef  Diamond,  lawyer  and  hos- 
tage of  war  from  Stanislau,  I  should  never  have  got- 
ten along  but  would  have  become  an  easy  prey  to  my 
credulity  and  sentimentality  and  would  no  doubt 
have  gone  raving  mad  from  giving  ear  to  the  accusa- 
tions that  the  civilian  prisoners  made  against  each 
other.  Of  hidden  wealth,  unlawful  sources  of  in- 
come, swindling  and  embezzlement,  in  short  of  un- 
bounded dishonesty,  not  excluding  bigamy,  feticide 
and  murder.  But  Dr.  Diamond  knew  the  civilian 
prisoner  and  the  mysteries  of  his  life.  He  spoke 
Ukrainian  with  the  Ruthenians,  Polish  with  the  Poles, 
German  with  the  Austrians,  Russian  with  the  Ruma- 
nians and  the  Hungarians,  and  Yiddish  with  the 
Jews  until  both  parties  were  wet  in  the  face  and  had 
to  wipe  the  sweat  out  of  their  eyes.  He  knew  who 
made  money  by  unlawful  traffic  in  liquor,  who  by 
usury,  who  by  speculation  in  merchandise,  by  ped- 
dling, by  trading  in  gold,  silver  and  precious  stones, 
by  gambling  and  by  honest  work. 

He  knew  who  constantly  postponed  their  depar- 
ture because  they  were  making  good  money  where 
they  were,  and  who  came  and  begged  for  assistance 
despite  the  fact  that  they  had  accumulated  tidy  little 
fortunes.     He  knew  when  a  civilian  prisoner  had 


Galician  Jews  85 


had   caviar,   a  three  course  dinner  and  coffee  with 
cakes  at  one  and  a  half  rubles  each,  at  the  "Passage" 
hotel;  who  were  thick  with  the  Bolsheviki,  and  who 
were  members  of  the  Red  Guard  where  they  got  300 
rubles  a  month,  uniform  and  complete  maintenance, 
of  which  the  daily  three  pieces  of  sugar  could  be 
sold  for  50  kopecks  apiece.     He  knew  what  girls 
did  not  need   30  rubles  a  month  for  support  inas- 
much as  they  wore  silk  stockings  at  75  rubles  a  pair, 
and  no  Jew,  however  wretched  or  ragged  he  might 
be,   could  moan  his  Way  to   assistance  if  Dr.   Dia- 
mond's legal  nose  had  smelled  money  on  him.     Dr. 
Diamond   did   a   great   and   unpleasant  work  for  a 
modest    salary    and    his    impulsive    eloquence   often 
placed  him  in  situations  where  he  was  called  swin- 
dler and  scoundrel  and  he  actually  received  threats 
against  his  life.     Then  he  became  very  frightened 
and  for  several  days  would  have  the  doors  locked 
and  let  no  one  in  unless  he  knew  his  voice,  and  he 
talked  with  pale  composure  and  great  seriousness  of 
giving  up  his  position.     But  one  or  two  days  after 
his  voice  and  liveliness  had  again  their  old  resound- 
ing strength  and  he  appeared  again  in  one  of  those 
virtuoso-like  cross-examinations  in  which  he  brought 
unworthy    applicants    to    silence    and    badly    hidden 
shame.     I  sat  in  an  adjoining  room  where  I  had  all 
the  advantages  of  being  outside  and  when  Dr.  Dia- 
mond had  ended  by  declaring  in   a   sudden  sugar- 
sweet  transition  that  after  all  it  wasn't  up  to  him,  no 
one  could  reproach  him  in  any  way,  for  he  was  only 


86  The  Red  Garden 

■-  ■■  --■  —  -  I  I 

a  humble  servant,  a  secretary  and  an  instrument  of 
a  higher  voice  and  of  course  every  one  was  free  to 
try  to  advance  his  case  with  the  consul  himself, 
then  there  was,  after  Dr.  Diamond's  exultant  indis- 
cretions, very  rarely  any  one  who  had  any  desire  to 
talk  to  me,  who — and  who  could  tell — might  be  still 
worse. 

Only  once  did  Dr.  Diamond  burn  his  fingers,  but 
it  was  excusable:  it  was  his  heart  that  ran  away  with 
him.  Among  the  civilian  prisoners  we  had  an  old 
blind  Jew  from  Limanova  who  had  been  in  Russia 
since  1914.  He  had  only  lost  his  eyesight  a  year 
before  we  came  however.  We  presumed  that  he  also 
had,  before  his  misfortune,  known  how  to  turn  a 
pretty  penny  just  as  the  other  civilian  prisoners  who 
unexpectedly  had  seen  their  crafty  aptitude  and  more 
West-European  initiative  invested  in  surroundings  of 
virgin  Russian  laziness  and  sleeping  sickness.  But 
of  course  we  knew  nothing  for  certain,  for  Galician 
Jews  do  not  carry  their  riches  where  tliey  can  be 
seen,  if  they  have  any  and  yet  after  all  it  was  per- 
haps only  as  so  much  other  envious  innuendo,  at 
least  that  was  my  opinion.  When  blind  Abraham 
came  and  wept  for  us,  and  he  did  almost  every  day 
I  was  generally  inclined  to  yield  in  spite  of  Dr. 
Diamond's  scepticism.  Abraham  was  a  quite  stately 
man,  more  broad  than  tall,  with  a  handsome  face  and 
a  beard  that  despite  his  age  was  only  slightly  grey. 
At  his  temples  there  were  pretty  grey  curls.  His 
eyes  looked  as  if  a  light  grey  film  had  glided  down 


Galician  Jews  87 


over  them.  He  wept  without  tears  and  his  features 
retained  even  while  weeping  a  peculiar  doltish  smile. 
His  shirt  was  always  clean  and  white  but  he  never 
wore  a  collar  and  he  always  wore  soft  morning  shoes. 
Dr.  Diamond  did  not  love  him,  but  after  all  the  poor 
fellow  was  blind  and  when  he  came  and  wept  and 
swore  that  a  blind  man  couldn't  live  on  50  or  a  100 
rubles  a  month,  then  it  was  all  too  true  and  ended  by 
his  being  given  an  additional  sum.  But  two  or  three 
days  later  he  was  back  again  with  piteous  wails:  he 
had  to  pay  for  the  least  help  he  got!  Dr.  Diamond 
and  I  came  to  the  conclusion  that  it  was  best  we  send 
him  home  to  Galicia. 

We  arranged  a  passport  for  him  too,  but  a  blind 
man  can  not  travel  alone  from  Simbirsk  to  Limanova. 
Abraham  had  no  relations  or  friends.  They  had 
gone  back  home,  he  said,  and  it  was  useless  to  ask 
why  they  had  not  taken  him  along.  We  had  to  find 
a  guide  for  Abraham  but  we  could  not  take  any  ci- 
vilian prisoner  at  random.  It  had  to  be  a  Jew.  But 
the  Jews  who  were  going  home  were  not  interested  in 
Abraham:  "We  have  trouble  enough  ourselves,  we 
have  children,  I  have  an  old  father,  I  have  a  sick 
mother,  I  am  sick  myself,"  etc.,  etc.  One  after 
another  went  away  and  Abraham  came  constantly  to 
us  and  wept:  "I  won't  be  a  burden,  I  ask  so  little. 
Only  some  one  to  get  me  boiling  water  for  my  tea 
and  help  me  when  I  have  to  get  off  the  train.  But 
they  want  money,  that's  what  they  want,  they  won't 
do  it  for  nothing  for  they  think  I'm  rich  and  I  have, 


88  The  Red  Garden 

God  help  me,  not  a  red  cent,  not  the  smallest  little 
coin — the   greedy  vultures!    .  .  ." 

"Maybe  he  keeps  it  in  bills!"  said  Dr.  Diamond  to 
me  in  an  aside,  but  nevertheless  he  swore  at  the 
thought  of  the  godless  rabble  who  would  not  help  a 
blind  old  man  of  the  tribe  of  Judah  to  get  to  the 
same  Galicia  that  they  were  going  to. 

One  day  Abraham  came  to  us  accompanied  by  a 
young  Jew  we  had  not  seen  before.  He  was  willing 
to  see  Abraham  home  if  he  could  get  200  rubles  and 
a  passport.  He  had  a  squint  in  one  eye  but  that  was 
hardly  ground  for  exemption  and  on  the  other  hand 
he  insisted  that  he  was  only  seventeen  years  of  age 
which  we  could  believe  in  a  pinch:  Jews  are  so  ma- 
ture. Worse  was  it  that  he  couldn't  prove  he  was 
an  Austrian,  but  this  we  overlooked  to  get  Abraham 
on  his  way.  When  Abraham  trusted  him,  far  was 
it  from  us  to  doubt  his  honesty.  He  was  given  50 
rubles  in  advance.  Several  days  later  the  passport 
was  ready  and  with  great  relief  Dr.  Diamond  paid 
him  150  rubles  more  and  for  once  again  Abraham 
got  a  litttle  sum  of  money  for  travelling  and  our 
blessings  on  the  journey  and  Dr.  Diamond  sighed  as 
they  went  and  said  to  me:  "If  only  I  dared  believe 
he  wouldn't  come  again." 

Dr.  Diamond's  evil  forebodings  unfortunately 
came  true.  Three  days  later  old  blind  Abraham 
came  to  us  and  wept  and  told  of  his  troubles.  His 
guide  had  left  him  and  had  not  come  back.  He  had 
taken  the  two  hundred  rubles  with  him  and  also  ten 


Galician  Jews  89 


rubles  belonging  to  Abraham.  Dr.  Diamond  raised 
such  a  scene  that  the  neighbours,  wakened  from  their 
noon-day  sleep,  came  to  their  windows  and  Abraham 
wept  still  higher  and  I  went  and  had  dinner  at  the 
"Passage"  .  .  . 

The  same  night,  it  must  have  been  about  two 
o'clock,  some  one  knocked  loudly  at  the  street  door 
of  the  house  where  I  lived  on  the  second  floor.  It 
was  a  two  story  wooden  house  on  the  outskirts  of 
the  town.  I  sprang  out  of  bed,  put  my  head  out  of 
the  window  and  saw  a  half  score  heavily  armed  men 
below.  When  they  caught  sight  of  me,  I  was  cov- 
ered by  their  weapons  and  received  a  sharp  injunc- 
tion to  shut  the  window  and  come  down  in  a  hurry. 
Shortly  after,  I  stood  on  the  steps  outside  of  the  street 
door  in  pyjamas  and  slippers,  surrounded  by  thirteen 
Red  Guards  armed  with  rifles.  Only  two  or  three 
of  them  were  in  uniform.  Their  leader  carried  a 
hand  grenade  in  his  belt  and  a  cocked  revolver  in  his 
hand.  However  he  was  neither  coarse  nor  unpolite 
and  consequently  I  got  the  greater  courage  to  appeal 
to  all  international  law  and  the  inviolable  rights  of 
diplomacy,  at  the  same  time  inviting  him  up  to  see 
my  papers.  But  all  this  did  not  aff^ect  him  in  the 
least,  he  had  papers  himself  and  by  the  flare  of  a 
match  he  showed  me  a  small  type-written  strip  of 
paper  that  bore  a  curt  order  to  arrest  a  person  of  my 
name.  Therefore  I  got  into  my  clothes  and  we  set 
out  through  the  dark,  sleeping  town  where,  by  the 
way,  all  traffic  was  forbidden  between  nine  in  the 


90  The  Red  Garden 

*         '  ■  -  ■ .—  I  —  ,1        II,..         .        ^ 

evening  and  six  the  next  morning,  down  to  the  former 
residence  of  the  governor  where  I  well  knew  that 
an  extraordinary  commission  (for  combatting  the 
counter  revolution)   was  sitting. 

I  was  brought  into  a  room  that  was  crowded  with 
other  arrested  persons  and  with  soldiers  who  slept 
and  with  soldiers  who  leaned  their  heads  on  their  rifle 
barrels  and  nodded  from  sleepiness.  The  first  per- 
son I  saw  was  my  secretary  who  had  apparently  been 
arrested  at  his  place  of  lodging.  He  was  attired  in 
shirt,  trousers,  overcoat  and  morning  shoes  only  and 
was  deathly  pale  and  frightfully  unshaven.  But  per- 
haps I  wasn't  any  too  pretty  myself.  When  he  saw 
me  he  gave  me  an  expiring  look  but  no  sound  came 
from  his  lips. 

I  was  immediately  brought  into  the  room  of  the 
head  commissar.  It  was  less  swinish  than  is  usual 
in  a  commissariat  and  there  was  still  massive  evi- 
dence of  former  magnificence.  It  had  apparently 
been  the  private  office  of  the  governor.  Two  men 
were  left  sitting  by  me  with  fixed  bayonets  but  I  con- 
fess that  I  sank  into  one  armchair  with  my  feet  on 
another  and  fell  asleep,  for  as  long  as  I  was  in  Rus- 
sia I  was  always  a  sound  sleeper.  It  was  already 
growing  light  when  I  was  wakened  and  presented  for 
the  commissar,  a  young  Jew  with  a  highly  sympa- 
thetic personality,  and  for  his  adjutant  who  quite  the 
opposite  was  a  highly  sinister  person,  no  doubt  a 
Pole,  who  looked  as  if  he  might  very  well  be  his  own 
executioner  also. 


Galician  Jews  91 


The  commissar  with  a  polite  gesture  bade  me  sit 
down  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  writing  table.  Dr. 
Diamond  was  fetched  so  that  he  could  act  as  inter- 
preter if  necessary,  but  he  certainly  did  not  look  as 
if  he  could  be  of  much  service,  poor  man.  How- 
ever the  inquiry  was  conducted  in  German  and  he 
had  therefore  only  to  answer  when  he  himself  was 
questioned.  This  he  did  with  a  meekness  and  a 
mien  that  alone  ought  to  have  proved  our  innocence. 

For  that  of  which  we  were  accused  was  not  trifling. 
The  complaint  was  that  here  from  the  Danish  con- 
sulate passes  had  been  issued  to  counter  revolution- 
ary persons  and  among  them  to  officers  of  the  Tsaris- 
tic  regime.  I  denied  absolutely  that  there  was  a 
shred  of  truth  in  the  complaint  and  Dr.  Diamond 
looked  as  if  he  wanted  to  speak  but  there  was  some- 
thing that  paralysed  his  tongue. 

The  commissar  in  the  meantime  was  turning  over 
his  documents  and  handed  me  a  sheet  of  paper  that 
I  took,  conscious  of  his  sharp  staring  gaze  at  the  bot- 
tom of  which  played  an  unpleasant  smile.  "Have 
you  seen  that  before?"  he  asked.  "It  was  found  on 
a  former  staff  captain  who  was  using  it  to  flee  to  the 
Ukraine."  I  looked  at  it.  It  was  a  passport, 
made  out  to  David  Silberman,  Austrian  subject  from 
Limanova  in  Galicia,  signed  by  me  and  provided 
with  the  seal  of  the  Danish  consulate,  and  counter- 
signed and  stamped  by  the  commissariat  for  war  and 
civilian  prisoners.  The  age  and  the  year  of  birth 
had  been  erased  and  changed  so  that  the  age  of  the 


92  The  Red  Garden 

bearer  read  37.  ...  It  was  tlie  passport  that  we  had 
issued  to  blind  Abraham's  squint-eyed  guide. 

The  explanation  I  gave  the  commissar,  whose 
smile  grew  broader  and  broader,  I  will  not  dwell  on 
— and  Dr.  Diamond  had  also  regained  a  little  of  his 
powers  of  speech  and  could  substantiate  what  I  said 
— but  now  blind  Abraham  was  fetched  from  the 
town.  The  commissar  offered  tea  and  cigarettes 
while  we  waited  and  we  had  an  interesting  conversa- 
tion about  world  politics.  When  Abraham  had  been 
brought  in  between  two  soldiers  and  was  confronted 
with  the  facts,  he  broke  down  and  confessed  with 
prodigious  weeping  that  he  had  arranged  with  the 
squint-eyed  one  to  swindle  the  consulate  out  of  two 
hundred  rubles,  travelling  expenses  and  a  passport. 
The  passport  the  guide  had  sold  for  100  rubles  of 
which  Abraham  had  received  50.  When  the  com- 
missar volunteered  the  information  that  in  reality  the 
passport  had  brought  500  rubles,  Abraham's  grief 
took  on  greater  proportions  and  he  gave  willingly  all 
possible  information  that  might  lead  to  the  appre- 
hension of  the  scoundrel. 

When  Abraham  was  searched,  they  found  on  him, 
sewed  into  various  parts  of  his  clothing,  3300  rubles, 
mostly  in  old-time  500  ruble  notes.  Also  two  dia- 
monds and  a  ruby.  Abraham  wept  when  it  was  all 
taken  from  him. 

Dr.  Diamond  and  I  went  home  in  the  bright  morn- 
ing light  in  a  droshky.  The  commissariat  paid.  It 
looked  as  if  it  was  going  to  be  a  lovely  warm  day. 


Galician  Jews  93 


The  air  was  full  of  balmy  breezes.  Dr.  Diamond 
shivered  a  little  in  his  shirt  under  his  overcoat. 

"Do  you  know  what  I  am  thinking  of?"  he  asked. 

"No,"  I  said  although  I  guessed  it. 

"He  had  money  anyway,  the  old  Spitzbub!  Glau- 
ben  Sie  mir,  sehr  verehrter  Herr  Konsul,  ein  alter 
Advocat  irrt  sich  selten  in  solchen  Sachen,  wenn  es 
auch  ein  blinder  Jude  ist." 

But  old  blind  Abraham  never  came  and  wept  for 
us  again.  Several  days  afterward  I  learned  by 
chance  that  he  and  the  squint-eyed  one,  who  thus 
came  to  guide  him  after  all,  had  been  shot  that  same 
morning  about  five  o'clock. 


Cederblom 

OF  all  the  many  Swedes  I  have  met  in  Russia,  in 
adversity  and  pleasure,  Karl  Johan  Ceder- 
blom plays  the  most  minor  role  in  my  emo- 
tional life.  I  have  only  seen  him  once.  That  was 
at  the  Nikolaj  railway  station  where  we  had  gone  to 
bid  a  friend  farewell  who  was  going  into  the  interior 
of  Russia  as  an  embassy  delegate.  When  we 
reached  the  station  he  had  already  secured  a  travel- 
ling companion.  This  was  Cederblom,  a  stiff,  slightly 
fat,  blond  gentleman,  clad  in  a  self-designed  khaki 
uniform  and  polished  tan  riding  puttees.  He  too 
was  going  into  Russia  as  a  delegate  to  some  govern- 
ment, I  didn't  pay  close  attention  as  to  which  govern- 
ment, because  at  that  time  I  wasn't  nearly  so  orien- 
tated in  Russian  geography  as  I  have  since  become. 
I  sauntered  up  and  down  the  platform  with  my  friend 
and  Cederblom.  They  had  made  sure  of  good  seats 
in  a  coach  that  was  reserved  for  official  travellers. 
Cederblom  was  in  high  spirits  and  talked  enthusias- 
tically of  the  trip  and  his  joy  over  all  the  new  and 
unknown  that  he  was  going  out  to  see,  and  I  heartily 
envied  the  two  adventurers  who  were  setting  out  into 
the  great  Russia  where  I  too  had  dreamt  of  losing 
myself. 

But  my  turn  came.     I  w'as  already  rich  in  travel 

and  experience  when,  in  the  spring  of  1918, 1  received 

94 


Cederblom  95 


orders  to  go  from  Moscow  to  Simbirsk,  where  I  was 
to  take  over  the  work  of  caring  for  the  Austro-Hun- 
garian  war  and  civilian  prisoners.  No  Danish  em- 
bassy delegate  had  been  in  Simbirsk,  but  lately  a  tre- 
mendous number  of  letters  and  accounts  of  hardships 
had  come  from  there.  The  prisoners  of  war  who  had 
gone  over  to  the  Red  Guard  or  the  Third  Internation- 
ale were  with  great  energy  making  life  a  hell  for  the 
officers  and  men  who  had  not  yet  done  so.  It  was 
intended  that  before  my  departure  I  should  have  the 
opportunity  of  studying  all  the  documents  relating  to 
the  government  of  Simbirsk,  but  they  couldn't  lay 
their  hands  on  them  at  the  Main  Consulate,  and  I  was 
suddenly  ordered  to  leave  on  six  hours'  notice  a  week 
before  I  expected  to  leave.  I  was  to  get  the  ticket  at 
the  railway  station  from  a  man  I  didn't  know,  five 
minutes  before  the  train  left.  And  the  official  pa- 
pers from  the  Central  Soviet, — well,  they  would  be 
sent  to  me!  It  so  happened  however,  that  when  I 
went  to  Tula  a  few  months  before,  I  had  gotten  an 
obliging  commissariat  adjutant  to  fill  out  my  delega- 
tion pass  with  not  only  Tula,  but  with  half  a  score 
other  governments  as  well.  Among  these  was  by  a 
lucky  presentiment  also  Simbirsk.  But  of  course  I 
said  nothing  about  that.  Besides  there  wasn't  much 
time  left  to  protest,  and  I  wanted  to  go,  and  I  did. 
About  Simbirsk  I  knew  nothing  execept  that  rumour 
didn't  make  it  too  pleasant.  However,  I  was  at  lib- 
erty to  find  the  Danish  bureau  for  civilian  prisoners, 
die  chief  of  which  was  Dr.  Joseph  Diamond,  who  was 


96  The  Red  Garden 

*■  — . 

no  doubt  an  excellent  man,  and  one  who  knew  what 
he  was  talking  about,  and  who  would  certainly  be 
able  to  tell  me  whatever  I  wanted  to  know.  They 
were  well  acquainted  with  his  address  at  the  consu- 
late but  had  mislaid  it  for  the  moment. 

I  had  a  pleasant  journey  from  Moscow  to  Nishnij 
Novgorod.  In  Nishnij  we  ran  ip.to  a  dry  snow  storm 
although  it  was  the  middle  of  April.  Nishnij  lies 
grandly  on  three  banks  where  the  Olga  and  the  Volga 
join.  From  the  white  Kremlin  on  the  right  bank, 
which  is  the  Volga's  left,  I  saw  through  the  storm  the 
joining  of  the  two  rivers,  opened  by  spring,  a  heavy 
grey  and  blue  view.  Only  in  Russia  can  you  be  a 
hundred  miles  from  the  coast  and  yet  see  the  sea. 
During  the  journey  down  the  river  to  Kazan  we  had 
fine  weather.  We  sailed  past  long  lonely  islands 
and  large  white  cloisters  with  domes  in  blue  and 
green  colours;  they  appeared  before  the  steamer  at  a 
sudden  bend  in  the  river,  glided  by  as  sights  from  a 
more  beautiful  reality,  and  disappeared  as  if  they 
had  never  been. 

During  the  whole  journey  I  kept  the  name  "Dia- 
mond" firmly  in  my  mind.  It  seemed  to  me  to  be 
the  only  fixed  point  in  my  future  existence.  From 
Nishnij  I  sent  a  telegram  haphazard  to  the  "Danish 
Relief  Bureau,  Simbirsk,"  to  reserve  a  room  for  me. 
When  I  came  to  Kazan,  I  went  by  train  to  Alatyr  to 
visit  some  prison  camps  and  from  there  I  drove  to 
Simbirsk  by  horse  and  wagon.  I  reached  the  town 
late  one  afternoon,  and  I  saw  some  prisoners  of  war 


Cederblom  97 


who  knew  nothing  either  of  Dr.  Diamond  or  of  a 
Danish  Relief  Bureau.     After  driving  around  a  long 
time  I  saw  a  man  whom  I  without  thinking  put  down 
as  a  Jew.     Luckily  he  happened  also  to  be  a  Gali- 
cian  civilian  prisoner,  and  could  give  us  information. 
We  had  to  go  all  the  way  back,  for  Dr.  Diamond 
lived  on  the  outskirts  of  the  town  in  a  cozy  green 
street   that    had    almost    a    village   air.     My   d*river 
stopped  without  being  told  before  a  little  worm-eaten 
wooden  house,  apparently  a  sort  of  furnished  room 
house.    Nomera  Gottlieba  in  Russian  letters  was  over 
the   entrance.     I   tugged   at  the  bell  but  no   sound 
came.     Then  I  went  in  and  in  the  kitchen  I  came 
upon  a  big,  obese  female  who  crossly  informed  me 
that  Dr.  Diamond  was  not  home  and  had  not  been 
home  in  the  last  two  or  three  days  more  than  five  min- 
utes at  a  time.     I  asked  if  I  could  wait  for  him  and 
was  shown  into  a  boudoir-like  room.     On  the  door 
hung  a  cardboard  placard  and  on  it  in  four  different 
languages;  Russian,  Polish,  German,  and  Hungarian: 
Dr.  Joseph  Diamond,  Advokat,  Attorney  at  Law  & 
Authorized    Representative    of    the    Royal    Danish 
General     Consulate.     Office     Hours     10-12     Except 
Saturday  and  Sunday.     And  in  Russian  below  writ- 
ten   in   pencil   "It's   no    use   coming   here.     All   the 
money  has  been  given  out!"     The  room  was  wretch- 
edly furnished:  a  small  iron  bed,  a  table,  a  chair  and 
a  bureau.     Over  the  bureau  a  cracked  mirror,  in  a 
comer  some  clothes,  a  satchel  and  a  pair  of  rubbers, 
on  the  table  some  Polish  and  Hebrew  books  and  a 


98  The  Red  Garden 

I  I 

whole  pile  of  receipt  blanks.     Beyond  any  possible 

doubt  it  was  the  Royal  Danish  Relief  Bureau!  I 
carried  in  my  baggage  and  went  out  to  settle  with  the 
thin-bearded  Tartar  who  had  driven  me  the  last 
60  versts.  We  had  just  succeeded  in  disagreeing 
thoroughly  as  to  whether  he  was  to  be  satisfied  with 
the  sum  that  we  had  decided  upon  beforehand,  when 
a  wagon  came  dashing  towards  us  in  full  gallop. 
Standing  up  in  it  was  a  little  stout  gentleman  with 
bare,  bald  head  and  rolling  eyes,  who  swung  his  arms 
excitedly.  When  the  wagon  stopped,  he  drew  near 
with  a  deep  bow  and  an  expression  of  the  most  kindly 
deference  in  his  protruding  eyes.  He  was  shabbily 
dressed  but  wore  a  collar  and  otherwise  looked  like  a 
European.  He  straightway  put  a  soft  hand  on  my 
arm  as  if  he  respectfully  wanted  to  steal  a  march  on 
me,  and  with  furious  haste  began:  "Diamond — Dr. 
Diamond  at  the  Consul's  service  .  .  .  Very  hon- 
oured .  .  .  great  pleasure!  .  .  ."  and  it  was  the 
truth  too,  I  could  see  that.  Words  flowed  from  him, 
they  couldn't  come  out  quickly  enough,  and  when  in 
the  middle  of  the  flood  of  his  speech  he  thought 
of  something  better  and  more  pretentious,  as  he  did 
constantly,  then  a  veritable  explosion  took  place  in 
his  mouth  and  the  air  was  damp  for  yards  around. 
I  remember  this  only  from  his  outpouring  of  wel- 
come: that  for  the  last  two  days  and  nights  he  had 
spent  most  of  his  time  at  the  railway  station,  for  he 
had  positively  expected  me  by  train,  but  then  no  one 
knew  how  they  ran  any  more  ...  he  had  run  up  a 


Cederblom  99 


small  fortune  in  droshky  bills  for  the  stupid  asses 
didn't  know  what  to  charge,  but  that  didn't  make  the 
least  bit  of  difference  for  he  often  took  money  out  of 
his  own  pocket  for  all  kinds  of  expenses  .  .  .  but 
fortunately  a  good  friend  had  told  him  that  I  was 
coming  by  wagon,  which  by  the  way  he  had  already 
thought  for  a  moment,  and  now  he  Was  here  and  en- 
tirely at  my  service  for  whatever  I  might  command! 
The  room  was  reserved — at  the  "Passage,"  the  best 
hotel  in  town  but  of  course  I  could  not  expect  the 
comfort  that  was  due  me.  But  now  he  would  give 
himself  freely  up  to  the  joy  of  seeing  me  and  I  must 
realize  what  it  meant  to  him.  Both  the  responsibil- 
ity that  now  was  lifted  from  his  shoulders  and  the 
security  that  my  coming  represented,  for  it  had  gone 
so  far  as  threats  against  his  life.  But  above  all  he 
welcomed  the  personal  contact;  the  opportunity  of 
talking  again  to  a  European  and  a  cultured  person. 
He  was  a  lawyer  himself  and  a  Dr.  Jur  .  .  .  but  um 
Gottes  Himmels  WiUen,  he  forgot  himself,  I  was  sure 
to  be  tired  and  hungry  and  he  himself  had  hardly 
tasted  food  the  last  few  days,  for  Russian  buffets  are 
so; — is  it  not  so?  One  is  after  all  a  cultured  per- 
son! .  .  . 

Here  I  took  the  opportunity  to  get  in,  not  a  word 
but  a  gesture  towards  my  Tartar  whose  foxy  phiz  un- 
der the  little  black  skull  cap  had  stiffened  in  a  hope- 
ful smile.  The  Doctor  grasped  my  meaning  as  one 
does  a  stick,  and  like  a  flash,  took  charge  of  the  situa- 
tion.    It   was    absolutely    overwhelming   to    see   the 


100  The  Red  Garden 

> ■ ^— t 

quickness  with  which  the  affable  little  man  changed 
from  respectful  glances  and  an  air  which  might  al- 
most be  described  as  refined  to  the  most  extreme  ex- 
citement and  uncontrollable  anger  during  which  he 
stamped  his  foot  and  abused  the  unsuspecting  Tartar 
with  the  intensity  of  a  small  volcano,  and  a  bub- 
bling technique  in  his  choice  of  words.  He  bade  him 
take  God  and  the  prophets,  not  excluding  his  own,  to 
witness  what  a  rascal  and  vile  profiteer  and  son  of  a 
bad  word  he  was!  Or  did  he  in  his  utter  lazy  igno- 
rance think  for  a  moment  that  he  was  dealing  with 
speculators,  hoarders,  Kulaks  or  low  usuring  Jews? 
Or  perhaps  he  would  grasp  without  forcible  urging 
that  it  was  with  Kultur  people,  first,  in  all  modesty, 
Diamond,  Dr.  Diamond,  imperial,  imperatorskij 
Austrian  advokat, — although  what  did  a  beast  of  a 
Tartar  know  about  law, — better  say  Doctor  Diamond, 
that  is  to  say  vratch  or  physician,  one  of  humanity's 
silent  benefactors  who  in  vain  do  their  deeds  of 
mercy,  if  you  can  understand  that,  you  infamous 
shopthief,  bread  profiteer,  hooligan,  Kalmuck  swine! 
And  this  honourable  gentleman  for  whom  you  have 
had  the  honour  of  driving  and  whom  you  would  rob! 
— Bah,  I  spit!  He  is  a  high  official,  a  consul,  an 
Amerikaner,  who  by  raising  his  finger  can  have  you 
arrested  and  put  in  prison  for  an  indefinite  period,  if 
you  are  so  lucky  as  to  evade  the  firing  squad  as  re- 
ward for  your  unbelievable  brazenness  and  shameless 
behaviour  to  an  inviolable  diplomat.  .  .  . 

And  with  this  Dr.  Diamond  took  some  bills  out  ol 


Cederblom  101 


the  wallet  he  had  held  in  readiness,  paid  both  driv- 
ers and  slammed  the  door  in  the  face  of  the  Tartar, 
who  too  late  went  into  his  fit  of  frenzy  and  yelled  and 
clamoured  in  front  of  the  house  before  he  drove 
away,  swearing,  and  lashing  his  horses. 

Dr.  Diamond  proved  himself  a  solicitous  host. 
He  had  laid  in  provisions  so  as  to  regale  me  hand- 
somely: eggs,  cold  beef,  sausage,  caviar  of  red  sal- 
mon, honey  and  a  small  piece  of  cheese.  The  land- 
lady set  up  a  samovar  and  Diamond  wrapped  the  eggs 
in  a  cloth  and  adroitly  cooked  them  in  the  samovar. 
Eating  utensils  were  scarce  but  there  I  could  help 
him  out. 

Diamond  at  once  proudly  set  two  bottles  of  vodka 
on  the  table  and  with  a  waggish  smile  showed  me  a 
bottle  of  cognac  he  had  hidden  in  the  bed.  I  had  no 
idea  what  it  had  cost  but  I  knew  that  it  was  expensive 
stuff.  Dr.  Diamond  produced  a  large  glass  for  me 
and  a  quite  small  one  for  himself  and  poured.  It 
gave  me  a  queer  feeling  and  I  reflected  that  all  that 
glitters  is  not  gold  and  that  I  had  150,000  rubles  on 
me;  it  still  had  some  value  at  that  time.  Bub  when  I 
protested,  Diamond  looked  both  in  surprise  and  en- 
treaty at  me  and  said  that  I'  really  ought  to  drink,  the 
glass  had  been  M.  Cederblom's  who  had  been  here  a 
number  of  months  the  year  before,  a  matchless  chap 
who  had  lit  up  Dr.  Diamond's  existence  the  whole 
time  he  had  been  here.  They  had  had  many  cozy 
evenings  together,  and  in  larger  gatherings  too  of 
course,  and  with  ladies,  and  Cederblom  had  sung,  oh, 


102  The  Red  Garden 

SO  wonderfully — in  Scandinavian,  and  it  would  be 
such  a  remembrance  if  I  now  would  drink  from  Con- 
sul Cederblom's  glass.  And  of  course  I  drank  and 
touched  my  glass  to  that  of  Dr.  Diamond  who  raised 
his  glass  and  toasted  me  as  elegantly  as  any  Swede. 
After  Dr.  Diamond  had  cleared  off  the  table  I  lit 
a  pipe  and  sat  on  the  bed  and  dozed.  Dr.  Diamond 
chattered  away  and  told  me  the  story  of  his  life,  his 
childhood  in  Stanislau,  student  days  in  Vienna,  about 
his  hochselige  Father  and  his  good  mother  who  be- 
lieved that  the  angels  in  Paradise  speak  Yiddish, 
about  his  brother  who  died  so  young  and  the  lovely 
children  he  left,  a  niece  and  a  nephew,  so  indescrib- 
ably beautiful,  especially  the  boy,  who  by  the  way 
was  almost  perversely  super-talented.  And  Dr.  Dia- 
mond told  me  examples  of  the  boy's  brightness. 
And  of  Cederblom  he  spoke,  merrily  and  with  impro- 
priety, while  we  sipped  at  a  cognac  toddy  in  which 
the  strong  stuff  had  not  been  spared.  Diamond 
could  not  find  words  enough  to  praise  Cederblom's 
charm  and  lovable  personality  and  still  he  managed 
to  convey  his  impression  of  me  in  such  a  manner  that 
I  could  well  feel  myself  flattered  by  the  comparison. 
But  nevertheless  I  thought  with  a  certain  anxiety  of 
Cederblom's  social  talents,  particularly  his  singing 
voice;  I  would  never  be  able  to  enjoy  the  popularity 
in  Simbirsk  that  Cederblom  evidently  had  known  how 
to  procure.  And  I  also  became  more  and  more  tired 
and  I  was  not  free  from  feeling  the  hundred  and 
fifty  versts  that  I  had  ridden  the  last  few  days  in  a 


Cederhlom  103 


Russian  Tjelega;  even  if  there  had  been  a  whole  load 
of  hay  in  the  wagon,  and  bells  on  the  lead  horse,  be- 
sides, the  last  day!  I  therefore  wanted  to  go  back  to 
a  hotel  but  when  Dr.  Diamond  declared  that  no  drosh- 
kys  were  to  be  had  on  the  outskirts  of  the  town  and 
that  he  would  urgently  ask  me  not  to  risk  my  life  by 
going  out  at  night  on  foot,  in  which  case  he  would 
have  to  guide  me  anyway  as  I  did  not  know  the  town, 
I  found  no  powers  of  resistance,  but  agreed  to  spend 
the  night  with  him.  I  was  to  sleep  in  Dr.  Diamond's 
bed  and  he  would  fix  up  a  place  for  himself  on  the 
floor. 

I  removed  my  collar  and  boots  and  lay  down  on 
the  bed  with  my  fur  coat  over  me.  The  bed  clothes 
and  my  travelling  rug  I  left  for  Dr.  Diamond.  I 
only  remember  seeing  him  in  a  woollen  undershirt 
with  a  small,  dirty  shirt  bosom  jutting  out  from  under 
his  chin.  .  .  . 

I  suppose  that  I  slept  especially  soundly  that  night 
as  I  usually  do,  so  I  must  conclude  that  it  really  was 
a  great  uproar  that  made  me  tumble  out  of  bed  and 
ask  what  the  matter  was.  Dr.  Diamond  was  already 
up  and  had  struck  a  light.  He  stood  by  the  wall  and 
listened;  his  bare  legs  visible  beneath  a  flowered 
nightshirt.  From  the  next  room  we  could  hear  ex- 
cited voices  and  noise  of  furniture  being  moved  about 
as  if  those  who  were  quarrelling  were  also  using  them 
against  one  another.  .  .  .  "It  is  Tatjana  Mikailovna 
who  has  come  home!"  I  succeeded  in  getting  out  of 
Dr.  Diamond  who  was  intently  following  the  tide  of 


104  The  Red  Garden 

h---  ■-   ■-■'■      '      '   ■■  — — —  —  ■■-  ''  4 

battle. — "Who  did  you  say?" — "A  young  lady 
who  has  the  room  next  door.  She  is  a  dentistry  stu- 
dent." "Does  she  draw  teeth  for  some  one  in  the 
middle  of  the  night?" — The  uproar  had  in  the  mean- 
time died  down  a  little  and  only  a  low  bickering 
could  be  heard  from  the  other  side  of  the  wall.  Dr. 
Diamond  came  over  and  sat  down  on  the  edge  of  the 
bed  and  said  to  me  in  a  whisper  while  he  constantly 
kept  an  ear  cocked  at  the  wall.  "You  don't  know 
Tatjana  Mikailovna,  Mr.  Consul,  but  you  will  think 
that  she  is  an  unusually  pretty  girl — and  intelligent. 
She  is  a  little  wild,  that  is,  passionate,  you  under- 
stand. But  what  about  morals  taken  altogether  here 
in  Russia?  You  know,  Mr.  Consul,  you  are  a  young 
man  who  have  been  around  a  bit,  I  can't  tell  you  any- 
thing new  and  yet  I  assure  you  it  is  worse  than  you 
think.  In  the  schools  even  .  .  .  conditions  so  un- 
believable. ...  I  won't  even  mention  the  married 
women  who  are  utterly  without  shame.  Tatjana  is 
seventeen.  Just  at  present  she  has  an  intrigue  with 
an  Austrian  cadet.  He  wants  to  marry  her;  can  you 
imagine  his  parents'  faces,  old  Magyar  nobility? 
But  she  no  doubt  has  become  tired  of  him.  The  one 
with  her  to-night  is  a  German  civilian  prisoner,  Beh- 
ren,  who  has  cast  in  his  lot  with  the  Bolsheviki.  He 
is  the  commander  of  the  Karl  Marx  Battalion  and 
has  great  influence.  .  .  ." 

Here  my  patience  burst.  I  restrained  a  strong  de- 
sire to  swear  and  in  a  sharp  tone  ordered  the  light 
out  and  Dr.  Diamond  to  bed.     But  it  was  impossible 


Cederhlom  105 


for  me  to  fall  asleep  again,  although  I  counted  to  a 
hundred  both  forwards  and  backwards.  First  I  had 
been  bitten  so  forcibly  about  the  wrists  that  they 
itched  as  if  they  were  on  fire.  Also  I  had  become 
wakeful  and  let  myself  be  influenced  by  the  least 
noise,  and  it  was  very  still  of  course  and  I  tossed  and 
was  now  too  warm  and  now  too  cold,  and  thought  not 
without  bitter  irony  of  how  meaningless  and  casual 
it  was  that  I  lay  here  side  by  side  with  Dr.  Diamond 
and  what  that  baggage  of  a  Tatjana  looked  like  any- 
way. 

An  hour  or  three  passed  before  I  fell  asleep  again 
but  then  I  slept  right  through  undisturbed.  The  sun 
shone  through  the  windows  wihen  I  woke.  Dr. 
Diamond  was  fully  dressed  and  had  put  the  room  in 
the  most  beautiful  order.  At  the  side  of  my  bed  was 
a  wooden  stand  on  which  there  was  a  bowl  of  warm 
water  and  a  piece  of  soap.  Dr.  Diamond  now  sat  at 
the  table,  and  now  walked  melancholy  and  very  cau- 
tiously up  and  down  the  room.  When  I  showed 
signs  of  being  awake,  he  livened  up  immensely, 
Wished  me  good  morning,  inquired  as  to  my  health 
and  deplored  deeply  and  at  length  the  night's  dis- 
turbances and  said  that  as  usual  he  had  been  up  since 
7  o'clock.     It  was  then  half  past  eleven. 

I  went  out  and  borrowed  the  kitchen  so  as  to  take 
a  wash  in  my  rubber  bathtub.  When  I  was  coming 
back  through  the  small,  half  dark  corridor  I  opened 
the  wrong  door  and  before  I  knew  what  I  was  doing, 
stood  in  a  room  that  at  first  sight  I  might  easily  have 


106  The  Red  Garden 

taken  for  Dr.  Diamond's,  for  it  was  of  the  same  size 
and  furnished  in  the  same  way.  Luckily  there  was  no 
one  in  it  for  I  was  rather  lightly  clad  after  my  bath. 
The  bureau  was  littered  with  perfume  bottles,  empty 
and  half-filled,  and  there  were  plenty  of  traces  of 
face  powder  everywhere.  A  pair  of  black  silk  stock- 
ings with  holes  in  the  toe  were  coiled  on  the  bed. 
And  as  I  was  about  to  go,  I  noticed,  on  the  wall  be- 
tween the  Tsar  and  Lenin,  a  handsomely  framed  pho- 
tograph of  a  man  whom  I  thought  I  knew.  He  was 
clad  in  a  khaki  uniform  and  shiny  puttees,  and  across 
the  picture  written  in  a  firm  hand  was  a  dedication 
from  Karl  Johan  Cederblom,  Royal  Delegate. 


Dr.  Diamond 

WHILE  we  were  at  breakfast  in  the  Passage 
Hotel  I  said  to  Dr.  Diamond  that  it  would 
be  necessary  to  find  rooms  for  the  consulate 
as  soon  as  possible  and  that  I  would  be  glad  if  he 
would  exert  himself  to  make  the  arrangements  need- 
ful. It  was  Dr.  Diamond's  least  trick  to  carry  out 
this  wish.  As  early  as  the  next  day  I  was  able  to 
move  into  the  house  of  a  rich  JeWish  dry  goods  mer- 
chant, Tschardegskij  who  during  the  flight  eastward 
from  Kiev  had  stopped  in  Simbirsk  temporarily  and 
had  there  bought  a  house  and  lived  on  his  money  and 
occasional  business  deals.  Dr.  Diamond  was  a 
friend  of  the  family,  and  they  gladly  accepted  diplo- 
matic billeting.  It  was  always  an  extra  protection  in 
unquiet  times.  Under  my  supervision  a  large  Dan- 
ish flag  was  made  out  of  two  Russian  ones  of  the  old 
regime.  Day  and  night  our  "Dannebrog"  waved 
over  the  street  door  and  was  the  cause  of  warranted 
sensation.  It  was  a  beautiful  flag,  not  quite  accurate 
perhaps  in  regard  to  regulation  dimensions  but 
with  an  immense  diplomatic  split.  The  Lord  only 
knows  where  it  is  now. 

At  first  after  my  arrival  in  the  town  my  time  was 
taken  up  in  making  visits  to  the  various  commissa- 
riats.    Dr.  Diamond  and  I  drove  from  one  Herod  to 

another  and  while  I  presented  myself,  and  in  poor 

107 


108  The  Red  Garden 

*  -■—■-■■  '  i  ■  ■        ■■  -  —  I   I    mi  ■  I.       ^m^^^^^m^ 

Russian  gave  my  view  of  the  stale  of  affairs,  he  stood 
with  pent-up  impatience  at  my  side  and  looked  with 
concern  at  the  bullet  holes  in  the  ceiling  plaster  or 
out  of  a  window  by  way  of  diversion.  But  no  sooner 
did  I  get  stuck  than  he  was  there  in  an  instant,  had 
grasped  the  gist  of  the  conversation  and  explained 
both  what  I  had  said  and  that  which  I  had  not  suc- 
ceeded in  saying  and  that  which  I  had  never  thought 
of  saying,  much  better  than  1  could  have  done  myself. 

If  I  had  for  a  minute  been  inclined  to  think  that 
perhaps  it  was  best  to  limit  official  co-operation  with 
Dr.  Diamond  as  much  as  possible,  the  ungrateful 
thought  at  any  rate  choked  itself  at  birth.  To  be- 
gin with,  this  idea  never  even  occurred  to  Dr.  Dia- 
mond, and  secondly  there  was  no  sense  at  all  in  let- 
ting an  aesthetic  prejudice  stand  in  the  way  of  the 
utilization  of  Dr.  Diamond's  unmistakable  ability 
and  energy.  And  a  more  helpful  and  disinterested 
secretary  than  Dr.  Diamond  I  would  be  hard  put  to 
find.  I  knew  well  that  philanthropy  alone  was  not 
the  motive  power.  But  I  also  knew  that  the  sole  ob- 
ject of  his  willingness  to  serve  was  to  please  me  per- 
sonally and  it  is  also  very  possible  that  he  had  his 
own  ax  to  grind,  but  at  any  rate  I  never  discovered 
it.  He  Ytras  naturally  self-sacrificing  and  quite 
tender  in  his  relation  to  me,  whom  he  regarded  with 
the  feeling  of  both  a  father  and  a  servant.  How  of- 
ten have  I  not  been  almost  ashamed  of  myself  that  I 
could  not  return  his  affection  as  it  deserved. 

Dr.  Diamond's  own  demands  on  the  material  good- 


Dr.  Diamond  109 


ness  of  life  were  ridiculously  small,  but  for  his 
friends  nothing  was  too  good  and  their  worst  digres- 
sions were  forgivable.  In  relation  to  financial  mat- 
ters he  possessed  a  sober  rational  outlook  on  life 
excluding  that  kind  of  disastrous  hazard  in  regard  to 
the  treasury  which  is  connected  with  a  more  roman- 
tic, Christian  view  of  money.  His  authority  among 
the  civilian  prisoners  was  about  that  of  a  Rabbi  and 
in  all  disputes  he  took  the  part  of  judge.  And  the 
Christian  prisoners  had,  in  spite  of  all,  more  faith  in 
him  than  they  had  in  each  other.  The  officers  among 
the  prisoners  did  not  favour  him  but  he  treated  them 
with  a  deferential  and  inexpensive  politeness  that  dis- 
armed them,  and  besides  he  arranged  loans  for  them 
gratis  among  the  various  Jewish  civilian  prisoners 
who  had  made  money  and  wanted  to  have  their  earn- 
ings converted  into  Austrian  valuation  in  a  profitable 
manner.  In  short  how  much  better  wasn't  he  than 
the  more  ornamental  lieutenants  I  often  saw  as'  secre- 
taries for  my  colleagues.  They  had  nothing  but 
girls  on  their  minds  and  stood  with  their  heels  to- 
gether and  hopes  of  promotion  in  their  hearts  every 
time  an  old  much-bemedalled  fashion-plate  trooped 
up  and  naively  thought  it  was  all  for  his  sake.  To- 
ward the  private  soldier  they  were  overbearing  and 
promised  him  sulphur  and  hell  fire  as  soon  as  they 
got  home  from  war  captivity  as  if  they  were  living  in 
the  undisturbed  bureaucracy  of  old  Austria  and  not 
in  Red  Russia.  Dr.  Diamond  knew  how  to  stick  his 
finger  in  the  ground  and  smell  his  way.     He  was 


110  The  Red  Garden 

humble  when  it  cost  nothing  and  rough  to  the  borders 
of  the  poetical  when  there  was  no  danger.  He  went 
to  the  authorities  and  waited,  was  turned  away  and 
still  came  back  and  waited  until  he  got  in.  He 
wrote  and  I  signed.  He  ran  and  I  rode.  He 
shrieked  himself  hoarse  at  the  railing  and  I  showed 
myself  in  the  room  with  a  silent  gloomy  expression. 
During  the  whole  time  he  was  with  me  we  worked 
together  in  the  best  of  harmony  and  understanding. 
His  only  moral  fault  was  that  he  did  not  have  the 
natural  ability  to  differentiate  between  truth  and  un- 
truth. It  wasn't  seldom  that  I  caught  him  in  the  very 
act  of  inexcusable  slips  of  memory.  But  even  then 
his  childlike  and  open  self-confidence  was  so  strong 
that  it  was  more  often  I  who  became  embarrassed. 
I  remember  that  once  when  he  had  gone  out  I  no- 
ticed on  his  table  a  letter  that  had  been  given  to  him 
to  dispatch  days  before.  It  was  a  delicate  matter 
concerning  a  camp  commander  who  privately  was 
selling  the  flour  that  he  received  for  the  maintenance 
of  the  prisoners.  As  we  had  constantly  received  no 
answer  I  had  requested  Dr.  Diamond  to  make  a 
move  in  the  case.  But  there  lay  the  letter!  When 
Dr.  Diamond  came  in  and  unsuspectingly  had  seated 
himself  at  the  writing  table,  I  took  a  chair  across 
from  him  and  in  a  casual  tone  inquired  whatever 
could  be  the  matter  with  the  commissariat  that  they 
did  not  reply  to  such  a  serious  epistle.  Dr.  Dia- 
mond raised  his  eyes  to  Heaven  and  wondered  long 
and  fluently  at  the  Russian  lack  of  politeness,  thrift, 


Dr.  Diamond  111 


honesty,  punctuality,  etc.,  at  their  laziness,  ignorance, 
impudence,  and  so  on  and  so  on.  He  had  by  the  way 
even  remonstrated  with  the  commissar  in  regard  to 
the  unseemly,  shocking  and  wholly  scandalous  as- 
pect of  the  matter.  .  .  .  Just  then  he  caught  sight  of 
the  letter  which  I  had  placed  quite  conspicuously  on 
the  table  and  grew  pale  but  did  not  give  in.  With 
splendid  self-control  he  kept  up  a  flood  of  talk  for 
yet  a  while,  while  he  deftly  pushed  a  sheet  of  white 
paper  over  tlie  evidence.  "If  you  wish,  Mr.  Consul, 
I'll  go  to  the  commissar  again  to-day!"  I  took  the 
sheet  of  white  paper  as  if  lost  in  thought  and  folded 
it  eight  times  each  way  while  I  reflected  what  an  im- 
possible situation  it  would  be  if  I  took  the  letter,  not 
to  speak  of  irreparably  destroying  the  existing  rela- 
tion of  mutual  confidence.  I  therefore  said  that  per- 
haps after  all  it  would  be  best  to  wait;  one  never  knew 
whether  the  commandant  concerned  would  take  it  into 
his  head  to  revenge  himself,  and  who  knew  whether 
or  not  the  commissar  was  personally  interested  in  the 
matter  .  .  .  and  Dr.  Diamond  upon  whose  forehead 
great  beads  of  sweat  had  sprung  out,  nodded  as 
eagerly  as  if  it  was  his  own  most  innermost  thought  I 
uttered,  and  constantly  kept  his  gaze  away  from  the 
uncovered  letter.  No,  I  would  rather  go  up  to  the 
commissar  myself  one  of  these  days.  If  Dr.  Diamond 
would  privately  secure  a  pound  of  tobacco  for  me 
that  I  could  take  along  as  a  sort  of  little  chance  mark 
of  attention  that  would  be!  the  best  way.  And  then  I, 
quite  nervous  myself  from  repugnance,  got  up  and 


112  The  Red  Garden 

went  without  taking  the  letter.  But  Dr.  Diamond  who 
was  no  fool,  vowed  afterward  and  even  behind  my 
back  that  I  was  not  only  an  exceptional  man  and  a 
fine  man  but  also  an  unusally  wise  man,  a  joy  to  my 
father  and  a  true  ornament  for  the  nation  that  had 
bred  me. 

Dr.  Diamond  had  remained  out  in  Nomera  Gott- 
lieba  for  personal  and  practical  reasons.  He  liked 
the  place  and  the  surroundings  and  the  people.  The 
food  was  "koscher"  and  he  played  "Preference"  with 
his  host  Gottlieb.  Besides,  the  rent  was  cheap,  a  fact 
which  helped  the  Relief  treasury  as  it  defrayed  house 
rent  under  the  head  of  office  expenses.  Dr.  Diamond 
constantly  received  a  tremendous  number  of  civilian 
prisoners  who  came  to  him  for  all  possible  purposes 
and  although  he  often  complained  that  he  had  no 
peace  by  night  or  by  day,  yet  he  was,  after  all,  also 
proud  of  being  sought  after  by  so  many  people.  The 
money  for  aid  to  the  civilian  prisoners  he  still  paid 
out  at  the  old  office  because  friend  Tschardeskij  was 
loth  to  have  on  his  stairs  such  a  frightful  invasion  by 
his  kindred  race. 

One  evening  about  eight  o'clock  as  I  sat  at  home 
and  drank  tea  the  war  prisoner  who  acted  as  servant 
came  in  and  said  there  was  a  Jew  outside  the  house 
who  absolutely  would  speak  with  me  and  despite  the 
late  hour  vehemently  insisted  on  seeing  me.  I  went 
out  to  him  and  recognized  the  little  Jew  of  whom  I 
had  asked  my  way  the  evening  I  came  to  Simbirsk. 
His  first  name  was  Majer  and  he  was  never  known 


Dr.  Diamond  113 


otherwise.  As  soon  as  he  saw  me  he  burst  out  as  if 
he  were  parting  with  his  soul:  ''Herr  Konsulat.  Der 
Dr.  Diamond  liegt  ermordet  zu  Hause!"  I  wasted 
no  time  in  words  but  dragged  the  little  Jew  along 
down  the  street.  So  Dr.  Diamond's  constant  and 
sedulously  expressed  forebodings  had  come  true! 
Majer  leaped  rather  than  walked  a  few  inches  be- 
hind me  and  supplemented  breathlessly  his  first  la- 
conic communication.  Well,  thank  the  Lord,  Dia- 
mond had  not  been  murdered.  It  had  only  been  very 
close  to  it.  But  the  money  that  he  had  had  for  dis- 
tribution had  been  stolen.  Majer  had  come — so  he 
related — about  half  past  seven  to  get  the  thirty  rubles 
that  he  was  entitled  to  monthly  but  which  he  had  not 
received  because  of  the  intervening  events.  He  had 
no  doubt  but  that  I  would  pay  him,  however.  There 
was  no  one  at  home  at  Gottlieb's,  and  neither  did  he 
get  any  answer  when  he  knocked  at  Dr.  Diamond's 
door.  He  was  about  to  turn  away  discouraged  when 
he  thought  he  heard  groaning  from  within  the  room. 
He  knocked  again  and  shouted:  "This  is  Majer! 
Are  you  at  home,  Dr.  Diamond?" — "Ach,  help  help!" 
he  now  heard  in  Dr.  Diamond's  voice,  "have  the  rob- 
bers gone?" — "Robbers?"  cried  Majer,  "Have  you 
been  attacked,  dear  Doctor?  Are  you  alive?" — 
"Yes,  I'm  alive,"  wailed  Dr.  Diamond,  "but  half 
dead  and  tied  up.  The  door  is  locked.  Hurry! 
Get  the  police' and  the  Consul!" 

Meanwhile  we  had  reached  Dr.  Diamond's  lodg- 
ing.    A  knot  of  people  stood  in  front  of  the  house 


114  The  Red  Garden 


and  I  had  great  difficulty  in  making  a  way  through 
the  little  corridor  and  into  the  room  which  was  filled 
with  militia,  people  in  uniform  and  people  in  civilian 
clothes,    rifle-men    and    young    detectives    in    black 
blouses,  mere  boys  with  big  automatic  pistols  at  tlieir 
belts.     On  the  bed  sat  the  chief  of  police,  my  good 
acquaintance   Vladimir    Stefanovitch   Kruvaschin,    a 
huge  indolent  Russian  of  such  unusual  dimensions 
that  he,   even  while  sitting,  towered  over  his  right 
hand  man,  the  little,  cruel  and  loathsome  Caucasian 
Grigorij  Nikolajevitch,  who  was  conducting  the  pro 
ceedings.     Opposite  these  two  men  stood  Dr.  Dia 
mond,    freed    from   his   bonds    and   apparently   un 
harmed  although  seen  in  the  lamp  light  he  was  yel 
lowish  pale  and  trembling.     I  greeted  him  and  Via 
dimir  Stefanovitch,  who  invited  me  to  sit  on  the  bed 
with  him  and  at  once  struck  me  for  cigarettes.     The 
little  Caucasian  imperturbably  continued  the  hearing. 
He  had   planted  himself  before  Dr.  Diamond   and 
his  gruesome,  stabbing  eyes  bored  into  the  other's 
wavering  ones.     Each  of  his  questions  was  accom- 
panied by  a  slash  of  his  riding  whip  against  his  boots, 
a  sound  which  just  as  regularly  caused  the  frayed 
nerves  of  Dr.  Diamond  to  react  so  that  he  shuddered 
and  showed  the  whites  of  his  eyes.     Poor  man,  when 
one  knew  him  as  I  did  it  was  all  too  easy  to  imagine 
what  he  had  already  gone  through,  and  now,  in  addi- 
tion to  that,  he  was  being  treated  not  as  a  victim 
of  an  audacious  crime  but  rather  as  a  suspected  crim- 
inal being  cross-examined. 


Dr.  Diamond  115 


A  record  was  being  made  of  what  the  robbers  had 
taken  from  Dr.  Diamond.  There  had  been  two  men, 
both  masked.  The  room  showed  visible  signs  of  how 
brutally  they  had  set  about  the  robbery.  All  of  Dr. 
Diamond's  possessions  lay  where  they  had  been 
thrown  in  the  middle  of  the  floor,  which  was  littered 
with  pieces  of  clothing,  books  and  hundreds  of  re- 
ceipt blanks.  Diamond's  handsome,  tan  briefcase 
— a  lonely  reminder  of  the  wealthy  Lemberg  law- 
yer— had  been  slashed  open  on  both  sides  with  a 
sharp  knife.  Diamond  shuddered  with  horror  and 
rage  as  he  demonstrated  how  they  had  flayed  out  the 
contents. 

The  booty  of  the  bandits  was  several  thousand 
nibles  of  the  consulate's  money,  about  15000  rubles 
which  Dr.  Diamond  had  had  in  safe-keeping  for  his 
fellow-countrymen,  a  trifling  sum  of  his  own  and 
four  dainty  caracal  skins  (Persian)  of  the  very- 
finest  quality  that  he  had  bought  during  the  first  year 
of  his  exile  for  twelve  rubles  each  but  which  were 
now  at  least  worth  their  225  rubles  apiece  and  not 
even  at  that  price  would  he  have  sold  them  had  it 
been  off'ered  him. 

The  swarthy  Caucasian  sneered  and  curtly  inter- 
rupted Dr.  Diamond  in  his  flood  of  words:  "Enough! 
Answer  what  I'm  asking  you!  What  did  the  robbers 
look  like?" — Dr.  Diamond:  "I  told  you  they  were 
masked!" — "That's  no  answer.  Don't  you  remem- 
ber any  special  marks  of  recognition?" — Dr.  Dia- 
mond did  not  remember  any. — "Were  they  tall  or 


116  The  Red  Garden 

short,  what  kinguage  did  they  speak  and  what  kind  of 
clotlies  did  they  wear?" — "One  was  tall  and  the  other 
was  short,"  opinioned  Dr.  Diamond,  "and  they  spoke 
only  in  gestures  and  wore  brown  military  capes  as 
every  one  else  in  Russia  does  now." — "And  their 
eyes?"  asked  the  Caucasian.  "What  did  they  look 
like?" — "As  murderers'  eyes,  I  suppose,"  said  Dr. 
Diamond  With  a  faint  sputtering. — "What  kind  of 
weapons  did  they  carry?" — "Revolvers,"  answered 
Dr.  Diamond  and  added  with  marked  distaste,  "and 
knives."  He  measured  with  his  hands  a  length  that 
at  any  rate  was  not  too  small. — "What  kind  of  re- 
volvers?"— Dr.  Diamond  shook  his  head  angrily. — 
"I  mean  what  system,  what  type?" — But  here  Dr. 
Diamond  lost  his  patience.  If  his  life  had  been  at 
stake  he  would  have  had  to  speak.  "Are  you  com- 
pletely crazy,  man!  Do  you  suppose  that  people 
notice  the  calibre  of  a  revolver  when  one  is  stuck  up 
under  their  nose?  And  with  absolute  murderous  in- 
tent? Are  you  trying  to  make  a  fool  of  me  or  are 
you  as  stupid  as  a  musjik?" 

I  wondered  at  Dr.  Diamond's  courage  for  of  course 
to  get  rough  with  the  police  was  not  the  right  method 
of  procedure.  They  are  no  wiser  in  Russia  than 
elsewhere  and  they  are  quick  to  utilize  the  natural 
advantages  that  their  position  offers.  Dr.  Diamond 
must  have  been  very  upset  to  forget  this  and  in  such 
a  careless  manner  to  let  himself  get  awiay  from  the 
cautiousness  and  self-control,  that  he  always  im- 
pressed on  me.     The  Caucasian,  apparently  well  sat- 


Dr.  Diamond  117 


isfied,  dictated  to  the  man  taking  down  the  record  that 
Dr.  Diamond  had  refused  to  answer  the  questions  of 
the  police,  that  he  had  entangled  himself  in  self-con- 
tradictions and  had  given  other  suspicious  signs  of  an 
uneasy  conscience.  Kruvaschin  leaned  toward  me, 
took  a  cigarette  from  my  case  and  said  smilingly: 
"Thought  so,  Mr.  Consul,  the  damn  Jew  has  arranged 
the  whole  thing  himself.  I  saw  which  way  Grigorij 
Nikolajevitch  was  heading  at  once.  He  is  a  crafty 
fellow,  we  have  worked  together  for  twenty  years  and 
I  assure  you,  he  can  smell  a  criminal  a  mile  away." 
What  could  I  do  in  tlie  face  of  the  turn  that  the  case 
had  suddenly  taken.  I  assured  Kruvaschin  of  my 
sincere  belief  in  the  Doctor's  innocence,  I  protested, 
I  threatened — without  result.  Vladimir  Stefano- 
vitch  showed  his  white  teeth  under  the  black  droop- 
ing moustache  and  said  with  fine  and  smiling  insinua- 
tion: "Calm  yourself,  Mr.  Consul,  there  is  not  tJie 
least  talk  of  bothering  you.  Tschestno  slovo:  I  give 
you  my  word  of  honour  that  you  will  not  be  mixed  up 
in  the  case  except  possibly  as  a  witness.  This  has 
been  a  pleasure.  Will  you  allow  me  to  take  another 
cigarette?" 

Two  detectives  had  in  the  meanwhile  gone  through 
Dr.  Diamond's  pockets  and  searched  his  person.  Be- 
fore they  started  off  with  him  I  promised  him  full 
personal  rnd  official  aid  and  bade  him  take  it  all 
courageously.  But  he  had  gone  utterly  to  pieces  and 
blamed  only  himself  for  the  fate  that  he  had  met. 
It  was  a  heartrending  sight  to  see  him  taken  away.     I 


118  The  Red  Garden 


was  soon  left  alone  in  the  ravaged  room  and  was 
also  about  to  go  when  little  Majer  popped  out  from 
somewhere  and  wrung  his  hands  and  said  with  a  wail 
in  his  voice:  "Ach,  what  misfortune,  Mr.  Consulate! 
Will  they  shoot  the  poor  Doctor  at  once?  And  I  who 
didn't  get  my  thirty  rubles!  And  God  knows,  Mr. 
Consulate,  I  can't  get  along  without  them.  .  .  ." 
The  floor  was  littered  with  receipts.  I  found  one 
that  had  not  been  used,  filled  it  out,  had  him  sign  it 
and  paid  him  the  money  after  which  he  withdrew 
thanking  me  and  bowing  deeply. 

When  I  came  home  the  people  in  the  house  had 
already  heard  of  the  assault  but  the  full  extent  of  the 
misfortune  was  now  first  made  clear  to  them.  Then 
a  wailing  and  a  weeping  arose  for  Dr.  Diamond  was 
deeply  loved  there  in  the  house  both  as  Jew  and  as 
man,  for  his  unswerving  willingness  to  serve  and  for 
his;  personality  and  when  even  I  apparently  could  not 
save  him  from  prison  and  possibly  worse  things, 
what  security  did  life  then  off"er  here  on  earth.  The 
good  people  saw  the  ground  open  at  their  feet  and 
spoke  of  selling  house  and  home  and  continuing  the 
flight  eastward,  to  Siberia,  to  Kharbin,  to  Japan  or 
preferably  all  the  way  to  America.  I  tried  to  repre- 
sent to  them  that  Dr.  Diamond  would  soon  be  set 
free,  for  after  all  he  had  been  arrested  on  the  most 
casual  suspicion.  But  they  looked  deeper  into 
things  than  I  did.  They  did  not  doubt  that  it  was 
the  police  themselves  who  had  committed  the  robbery. 
In  the  militia  all  kinds  of  elements  were  to  be  found, 


Dr.  Diamond  119 


also  people  just  released  from  jail  and  as  for  Vladi- 
mir Stefanovitch  and  Grigorij  Nikola jevitch,  they  are 
worse  than  the  worse  Bolsheviki.  By  some  miracle 
or  other,  or  else  perhaps  just  because  of  their  arrant 
rascality,  they  had  understood  how  to  retain  the  lead- 
ership of  the  criminal  police,  also  after  the  Bolshe- 
viki had  taken  the  helm,  although  no  people  were 
more  filled  with  the  spirit  of  reaction  and  Black  Hun- 
dred than  they.  Mr.  Tschardefskij  had  no  good  ex- 
pectations from  that  quarter,  quite  the  contrary. 

My  exertions  to  free  the  Doctor  were  unsuccessful. 
He  was  brought  to  the  prison  of  the  government  and 
to  get  his  release  before  his  case  had  come  up  was 
out  of  the  question.  As  always  in  Russia  I  was 
shown  from  one  to  the  other  and  at  last  back  to  the 
first  one  again,  but  the  only  result  was  that  Dr.  Dia- 
mond had  food  brought  in  to  him,  which  Tscharef- 
skij  had  by  the  way  already  attained  through  a  little 
arrangement  with  one  of  the  jailers. 

Tscharefskij's  expectations  did  not  fail  of  fulfill- 
ment. One  day  he  came  and  told  me  that  both  he 
and  others  who  were  friends  of  Dr.  Diamond  had 
been  visited  by  an  emissary  of  the  police  who  re- 
ported that  Dr.  Diamond's  case  looked  very  serious. 
Evidence  of  his  participation  in  the  activities  of  a 
counter-revolutionary  organization  had  been  found, 
and  if  he  was  turned  over  to  the  Bolshevistic  counter 
espionage  he  would  most  certainly  be  shot  at  once. 
However  the  criminal  police  did  not  believe  that  he 
was  as  guilty  as  he  appeared  to  be  and  if  a  sum  of 


120  The  Red  Garden 

( —  I 

money  was  placed  at  their  disposal — to  be  accounted 
for  later  of  course — they  would  work  in  the  right 
places  to  save  his  life.  If  not,  perhaps  he  would  be 
shot  already  that  night.  4000  rubles  had  been  de- 
manded of  Tscharefskij  and  he  had  temporarily  paid 
out  1000. — "What  shall  I  do,"  he  said  to  me  quite 
shaken,  "they  have  the  upper  hand  and  I  can't  let  the 
Doctor  be  murdered;  and  then  I  thought  too  that  pos- 
sibly the  consulate  could  reimburse  me  for  my  ex- 
penditure as  the  case  most  closely  concerns  it." 

Under  these  circumstances  I  said  to  Tscharefskij 
that  I  would  contribute,  if  he  could  procure  4000 
rubles  from  Dr.  Diamond's  friends.  In  any  case  it 
would  be  cheaper  to  act  together  and  at  once.  The 
money  was  gotten  together  and  already  the  day  after, 
I  went  to  Vladimir  Stefanovitch  Kruvaschin  who, 
broad-shouldered  and  mighty,  received  me  at  once  in 
his  little  office  where  many  a  criminal  and  now  and 
then  an  innocent  person  must  have  suffered  bitter 
pangs.  The  Caucasian  was  there  with  him  but  when 
we  had  talked  a  little  about  the  weather  and  smoked 
a  couple  of  cigarettes,  Kruvaschin  found  something 
for  him  to  do  so  that  he  was  obliged  to  leave  the  office 
which  he  did  with  all  visible  signs  of  angry  and  re- 
pressed ill-will.  When  we  were  alone,  we  lit  cigar- 
ettes again  and  I  broached  the  case  and  explained  to 
him  how  the  arrest  of  Dr.  Diamond  and  the  constant 
suspicion  that  rested  on  him  not  only  affected  the 
consulate  but  also  the  royal  Danish  government.  I 
had  therefore  decided  to  offer  a  reward  of  5000  rub- 


Dr.  Diamond  121 


les  for  the  apprehension  of  the  robbers  to  be  divided 
amona;  the  detectives  at  the  discretion  of  Kruvaschin. 
The  2500  I  would  pay  at  once  and  the  rest  would 
follow  when  Dr.  Diamond  was  set  free.  Kruvaschin 
showed  his  teeth  in  a  smile  and  said  that  the  police 
were  absolutely  forbidden  to  accept  money.  During 
the  twenty  years  that  he  had  been  its  chief  there  had 
not  yet  been  a  single  instance  of  any  detective  accept- 
ing as  much  as  a  kopeck  for  work  it  was  his  duty  to 
perform.  But  in  this  instance  where  it  was  a  foreign 
government  that  did  the  £tat  the  honour  of  wishing 
to  reward  its  dangerous  exertions  he  would  deviate 
from  his  principles  and  accept  the  money — but  only 
under  receipt.  Then  he  took  the  envelope  I  handed 
him  and  without  looking  at  the  contents  wrote  on  a 
little  strip  of  paper:  "Received  2500  rubles  on  ac- 
count— Kruvaschin."  We  talked  a  while  longer, 
shook  hands  and  parted.  The  receipt  I  had  rolled 
together  in  a  little  ball;  it  lay  on  the  floor  when  I 
went.  The  last  I  saw  was  the  face  of  Grigorij 
Nikolajevitch,  the  Caucasian  scowling  at  me  from  the 
window. 

Shortly  afterward  Dr.  Diamond  was  released. 
His  stay  in  prison  had  lasted  three  weeks.  His  nat- 
ural optimism  had  carried  him  through  this  bad  time. 
However,  there  had  been  many  cultured  people  to 
talk  to  in  the  jail.  Also  they  had  played  cards  and 
thanks  to  the  friendly  jailer  had  constantly  received 
food  and  mail  from  without.  But  Diamond  did  not 
know  how  much  his  life  had  hung  by  a  thread.     It 


122  The  Red  Garden 

' — -t 

was  Tscharefskij  who  informed  him  what  his  friends 

had  suffered  on  his  account,  and  what  it  had  cost 

them.     Dr.   Diamond  was   so  moved  that  he  wept. 

"I'll  repay  them,  Mr.  Consul,  and  every  one  else 
and  with  six  per  cent.  I'm  no  beggar.  My  legal 
practice  the  last  year  before  the  war  brought  me  in 
25,000  Austrian  kroner  and  I  own  two  houses  in 
Lemberg.  But  I  will  not  because  of  that  forget  what 
I  owe  the  hearts  and  willing  help  of  my  friends." 
Again  and  again  he  referred  to  the  charity  that  had 
been  shown  him  and  no  one  could  be  more  effusively 
grateful  for  a  trifling  and  matter  of  course  evidence 
of  friendship  than  Dr.  Diamond  for  whom  goodness 
and  sacrifice  was  the  daily  salt  of  life. 

As  far  as  the  further  development  of  the  case  is 
concerned,  there  is  only  this  to  tell,  that  the  robbers 
were  never  found  but  that  Kruvaschin  unexpectedly 
was  arrested  several  weeks  later  and  put  in  the  gov- 
ernment prison  while  Grigorij  Nikolajevitch  took 
over  the  leadership  of  the  criminal  police.  Whether 
he  thought  that  we  only  had  done  what  was  right  from 
our  point  of  view  or  whether  he  had  been  afraid  to 
get  into  trouble  with  the  consulate — or  other  reasons 
were  present,  I  leave  unsaid.  The  fact  remained 
that  we  got  no  further  unpleasantries  from  that 
quarter. 


Hapsburg  Officers 

THE  22nd  Evacuation  Hospital  in  Simbirsk  is  a 
large  red  building  tliat  has  never  been  quite 
finished.  It  lies  north  of  the  town,  out  on  the 
high  left  bank  of  the  Volga  and  from  its  front  can  be 
seen  an  enchanting  view  of  the  waters  and  islands  of 
the  river  and  particularly  of  the  high  sky  that  is 
never  the  same. 

Dr.  K. the  Austrian  chief  physician  showed 

me  around.  It  was  shortly  after  my  arrival  in  Sim- 
birsk and  my  first  visit  to  the  hospital.  We  went 
through  long  corridors  where  old,  unshaven  prisoners 
of  war  in  dirty  smocks  but  otherwise  naked  ceased 
sweeping  to  look  dully  after  us.  In  the  big  ward 
where  there  were  more  than  fifty  beds,  the  air  was 
thick  with  poverty  and  the  sweat  and  wretchedness 
of  many  people.  The  sick  for  the  most  part  were  up 
and  sat  on  the  edge  of  the  beds  staring  dully  in  front 
of  them,  or  looked  at  those  who  whittled,  patched 
clothes  or  repaired  their  frightful  wrecks  of  boots 
or  who  ate  some  extra  food  that  they  themselves  had 
bought.  Some  played  cards  with  filthy  rags  that 
apparently  had  served  through  the  campaign  and  sev- 
eral years  of  war  imprisonment.  There  were  few 
real  invalids.  They  had  already  been  exchanged. 
There  was  only  an  occasional  one  whose  arm  had 

been  amputated  and  several  who  were  blind  or  in- 

123 


124  The  Red  Garden 

sane.  Otherwise  they  were  men  with  internal  sick- 
nesses and  injuries,  cancer,  heart  trouble,  asthma  and 
tuberculosis.  Yes,  tuberculosis,  they  all  had  that,  I 
think,  they  looked  so  white  and  grey.  But  there  are 
so  many  technical  names  for  its  various  stages.  The 
sick  did  not  pay  much  attention  either  to  the  physi- 
cian or  myself.  They  didn't  rise,  and  used  no  polite 
phrases.  They  were  indifferent  and  could  no  longer 
be  disappointed. 

In  the  small  rooms  we  visited  last  it  was  at  once 
apparent  that  here  it  was  not  worth  while  to  keep  up 
the  patient's  hopes  by  giving  his  sickness  a  name. 
For  here  sickness  was  Death  and  those  who  lay  here 
knew  they  were  to  die.  This  look  can  easily  be 
recognized  on  the  sick  if  one  has  ever  had  the  oppor- 
tunity of  observing  it.  Such  a  parsimonious  expres- 
sion comes  into  their  faces  because  they  will  not  any 
more  waste  their  last  thoughts  on  anything  between 
Heaven  and  Earth,  but  lie  and  impress  on  them- 
selves that  which  in  this  brief  respite  is  most  impor- 
tant to  keep  fixed  in  the  memory.  They  lie  nice 
and  quiet  in  their  beds,  every  little  unnecessary  exer- 
tion they  must  pay  for  with  much  cold  sweat  and 
coughing.  How  wretched  they  are,  and  thin  and 
weak!  They  can  barely  talk,  their  voices  leave  them 
only  as  weak  breaths.  Even  when  they  lie  stretched 
out  on  their  backs  and  still  as  mice,  it  is  as  cautiously 
as  if  the  mere  pressure  of  their  own  weight  could 
squeeze  out  what  little  life  there  was  still  left  in  them 
and  they  therefore  wished  to  remain  hovering  in  the 


Hapsburg  Officers  125 

air.  Some  had  been  long  dying.  Illness  had  slowly 
tapped  their  strength  for  three  long  years  of  impri- 
sonment. 

Maybe  they  could  live  a  while  longer,  perhaps 
three  weeks,  perhaps  three  months,  perhaps  a  year. 
But  some  had  been  overtaken  with  galloping  speed  in 
less  than  three  months.  They  still  remembered  what 
the  others  had  forgotten,  that  they  had  once  been 
sturdy  warriors  who  strode  along  and  drew  breath 
without  thinking  of  their  bodies.  And  now  their 
emaciated  remnants  lay  here,  with  those  others  whom 
they,  as  healthy  men,  had  known  as  hopeless  sick, 
and  if  it  had  not  been  for  the  bit  of  soul  that  still 
burned  in  the  mute  eyes,  one  could  believe  that  these 
wax-like  limbs  and  deathly  pale  faces  already  waited 
for  the  unplaned  board  cofiins.  But  corpses  are  less 
uncanny.  Corpses  are  nothing  and  make  no  appeal 
even  to  the  intellect  and  these  living  unextinguished 
eyes  with  their  dumb  expression  of  black  suffering 
and  unfathomed,  fixed  idea  filled  me  with  horror 
and  to  me  it  seemed  brutal  that  I  should  make  my 
rounds  here  as  healthy  and  well-dressed  as  any  kingly 
supernumerary,  here  where  the  abyss  of  death  al- 
ready divided  for  ever  he  who  was  to  live  from  them 
who  knew  they  were  to  die — . 

When  Dr.  K, had  shown  me  round  he  said:  "I 

presume  you  will  also  pay  a  visit  to  the  honourable 
officers.  My  assistant  will  show  you  the  way.  I 
can't  very  well,"  he  added  a  bit  embarrassed.  "You 
see,  in  a  hospital  there  can  only  be  one  chief  and  that 


126  The  Red  Garden 

must  be  the  physician.  But  that  is  a  point  of  view 
which  all  officers  do  not  find  equally  easy  to  acquire. 
Perhaps  you  will  find  that  they  have  already  formed 
an  ill  opinion  of  you  because  you  called  on  me  first." 
He  smiled  as  he  said  this  and  we  parted. 

The  officers  occupied  a  very  large  and  airy  room  on 
the  second  floor.  There  wasn't  much  more  furni- 
ture than  the  beds  that  stood  in  two  precise  rows 
along  the  walls  on  the  long  sides  of  the  room.  In 
the  middle  of  the  floor  was  a  table  where  chess  was 
being  played  as  I  entered.  All  rose  to  their  feet  at 
once  with  the  exception  of  several  who  were  bedrid- 
den. An  elderly  officer  with  a  markedly  shrunken 
turkey  neck  and  small  chin  whiskers  took  three  for- 
mal paces  forward  to  meet  me.  He  was  a  colonel 
and  the  ranking  officer.  I  also  recited  my  titles  and 
we  again  bowed  stiffly  to  each  other.  The  colonel 
presented  me  for  the  staff  officers:  there  were  two 
more,  a  Lt.  colonel  and  a  major.  The  major  pre- 
sented me  for  the  lieutenants  and  the  senior  lieuten- 
ants lor  the  cadets.  The  ceremony  was  a  long  one 
and  in  dead  earnest.  Those  who  were  presented  for 
me  snapped  their  heels  together  with  vigour,  also 
those  who  had  their  bare  feet  in  hospital  slippers. 
The  three  senior  officers  and  I  seated  ourselves  at 
the  table  while  the  younger  officers  formed  a  ring 
around  us  some  distance  away.  Only  the  staff^  offi- 
cers took  part  in  the  conversation.  The  others  stood 
and  alternately  put  the  right  leg  in  front  of  the  left 
and  vice  versa. 


Hapsburg  Officers  127 

The  three  staff  officers  were  individually  good 
types  and  taken  altogether  were  almost  an  allegory. 
First  the  colonel,  kaiserlich  und  koniglich,  right  to 
his  finger  tips,  thin  legged  in  his  riding  breeches, 
gentleman,  and  with  the  same  expression  of  intelli- 
gence in  his  face  as  a  playing  card.  He  wore  a 
faded  dark-blue  uniform  with  gold  braid,  apparently 
an  old  dress  uniform  that  he  was  wearing  out  in  his 
war  imprisonment.  The  lieutenant-colonel  on  his 
right  was  a  Hungarian,  stout  and  elderly,  but  not  un- 
warlike,  with  a  petticoat-chaser's  eye  and  with  that 
slightly  dandified  arrogance  over  his  person  which 
is  the  special  contribution  of  the  Magyar  to  the  Bal- 
kan type.  And  finally  the  Major  on  his  left  who  had 
only  to  open  his  mouth  to  betray  his  native  Vienna. 
He  completed  the  trio  with  his  spotted,  slipshod  tunic 
that  sat  on  him  like  a  house  jacket  and  his  round- 
bearded  and  jovial  face  in  whose  smile  belief  in  all 
big  words  and  values  melted  as  sugar  in  water.  The 
colonel  took  the  lead  haltingly  and  the  two  others  sup- 
ported him.  The  conversation  dragged.  I  noticed 
that  in  the  interrupted  chess  game  both  the  white  bish- 
ops, strange  to  say,  stood  on  the  black!  When  the 
conventional  things  had  been  said,  we  fell  of  course 

head  first  into  the  hospital  conditions  and  Dr.  K. 

got  it  right  and  left.  He  encouraged  Bolshevism, 
undermined  the  authority  of  the  officers  over  the 
men,  destroyed  discipline  and  ignored  him,  the  colo- 
nel, who  was  the  much  higher  ranking  officer.  "I 
am  here  as  a  convalescent  and  not  as  a  patient  and 


128  The  Red  Garden 

I I 

am  in  full  possession  of  my  faculties  and  he  can 
therefore  not  deny  me  the  right  to  exercise  the  author- 
ity due  me  as  ranking  officer  in  purely  military  and 
disciplinary  affairs  especially  When  I  see  how  matters 
are  going  under  his  leadership!  But  he  wants  to  set 
me  at  nought  here  and  he  isn't  ashamed  to  play  the 
Russians,  those  infamous  traitors  of  the  fatherland, 
against  me.  He  threatens  to  discharge  me  as  cured, 
a  plan  which  approaches  high  treason  as  only  by  get- 
ting  home  as  an  invalid  can  I  again  place  my  arms 
and  my  experience  at  the  disposal,  in  the  field,  of 
my  Kaiser  and  War  Lord." — The  major  smothered 
a  smile  and  I  hastened  to  acquaint  the  colonel  with 
the  fact  that  he  was  touching  on  a  dangerous  theme 
as  I  as  a  representative  of  a  neutral  power  ought  not 
to  get  the  impression  that  the  invalids  in  whose  re- 
patriation I  was  interested,  possibly  were  less  dis- 
abled than  their  testimonials  certified. 

Before  I  left  I  had  a  talk  alone  with  the  colonel  in 
the  little  room  that  he  occupied  together  with  the  lieu- 
tenant-colonel. The  colonel  uncovered  from  under 
his  bed  some  heavily  bound  and  sealed  packages. 
"It  is  of  the  utmost  importance,"  he  said,  "to  get 
these  documents  to  their  address:  the  k.  u.  k.  War  De- 
partment in  Vienna."  For  an  instant  I  was  slightly 
nonplussed.  Everything  seemed  to  indicate  that  I 
was  within  a  hand's  breath  of  military  secrets  of  the 
Lord  knows  what  importance  and  danger.  The  colo- 
nel continued :  "As  former  ranking  officer  in  the  camp 
at  D  (he  named  one  of  the  big  Siberian  camps  for 


Hapsburg  Officers  129 

officers  where  several  thousands  at  a  time  could  be 
interned)  I  have  at  my  transfer  as  invalid  to  this 
hospital,  from  which  I  contrary  to  my  expectations 
have  not  yet  been  sent  further  on  and  home,  thought 
it  my  duty  to  bring  with  me  from  the  camp  at  D  vari- 
ous records  of  matters  that  came  up.  As  camp  com- 
mander I  felt  responsible  for  their  fate  and  the  exist- 
ing anarchistic  conditions  in  Russia  make  it  hardly 
possible  for  me  to  leave  these  matters  in  the  care  of 
the  Russians  until  after  the  end  of  the  war.  These 
are  records  of  the  various  affairs  of  honour  that  na- 
turally have  come  up  in  a  camp  where  so  many  of- 
ficers are  lumped  together  under  difficult  conditions, 
for  the  most  part  court  of  honour  decisions  handed 
down  under  my  chairmanship.  Reports  of  the  re- 
lations between  various  officers  and  documents  relat- 
ing to  breaches  of  discipline — you  will  readily  see 
of  what  extraordinary  and  deciding  importance  this 
material  is  for  future  promotions  in  the  army  and 
how  quite  especially  the  certainty  that  these  matters 
are  in  their  proper  place  will  tend  to  strengthen  the 
spirit  in  the  army  and  tlie  common  responsibility 
and  feeling  of  honour  in  the  officers'  corps.  As  it 
furthermore  would  be  a  personal  satisfaction  to  me 
and  in  some  degree  I  think,  a  service  by  which  I  will 
be  remembered,  to  have  contributed  my  part  to  the 
successful  sending  home  of  the  documents,  I  urgently 
request  you  to  stand  by  me  in  word  and  deed!" 

I  sat  mutely  and  weighed  in  my  thoughts  the  four 
heavy  packages.     Considered  as  luggage  they  were 


130  The  Red  Garden 

not  inviting.  To  get  out  of  it  I  asked  if  they  really 
contained  nothing  but  that  which  the  colonel  had 
mentioned.  But  that  didn't  work;  I  was  free  to  cen- 
sor, or,  what  was  easier,  to  take  his  word  of  honour 
as  an  officer.  Well,  then  I  had  to  promise  to  do  my 
best  to  find  a  way  out  but  I  stipulated  that  in  case  I 
succeeded  in  getting  a  hospital  train^  for  the  acknowl- 
edged invalids,  that  then  the  colonel  was  to  take 
his  packages  along  with  him  to  Moscow  where  he 
could  turn  them  over  to  the  Danish  General  Consu- 
late if  he  feared  to  risk  getting  them  through  the 
customs  at  the  frontier — . 

Some  time  afterward  I  received  a  telegram  that  I 
would  get  a  hospital  train  for  my  invalids  as  soon  as 
possible.  Two  Russian  physicians  also  came  and 
began  to  classify  the  prisoners  of  war  all  over  again, 
both  those  in  the  hospital  and  the  camp  and  those 
who  worked  in  the  town,  without  regard  as  to  whether 
they  had  been  acknowledged  invalids  two  or  three 
times  beforehand.  However  they  were  not  severe 
and  the  procedure  was  not  wholly  unfair,  for  in 
many  places  in  Siberia  invalid  certificates  had  been 
cheap. 

One  afternoon  I  was  visited  by  an  officer  from  the 
hospiital.  Von  S  was  his  name  and  he  was  a  first 
lieutenant  in  a  dragoon  regiment  and  a  tall  blond 
fellow  with  a  somewhat  brusk  manner.  He  came  to 
complain  that  the  commission  had  rejected  him  al- 
though he  had  certification  that  he  was  unfit  for  mili- 
tary service  because  of  bronchitis.     He  wanted  me 


Hapsburg  Officers  131 

very  much  to  influence  the  commission  so  that  he 
could  leave  any  way.  I  insisted  that  if  the  physi- 
cians who  knew  their  business  couldn't  make  an  inva- 
lid out  of  him,  then  I,  who  knew  nothing  about  it 
could  not  possibly  help  him  even  if  he  had  pulmon- 
ary consumption.  My  task  was  to  see  that  those  pri- 
soners of  war  were  sent  away  who  had  received  law- 
ful invalid  certificates  at  the  hands  of  the  commis- 
sion. But  the  lieutenant  was  balky  and  at  last  he 
actually  became  rough  and  said  that  other  delegates 
had  a  diff'erent  idea  of  their  position,  etc.,  and  one 
word  led  to  another  until  I  had  to  ask  him  to  step 
outside  and  convince  himself  that  he  wasn't  in  an 
Austrian  barrack  but  in  a  royal  Danish  consulate. 

Already  the  next  morning  I  received  a  letter  in 
which  I  was  informed  in  correct  phrases  that  Ober- 
leidnant  von  S  felt  that  his  honour  as  an  officer 
was  impugned  by  my  utterances  and  a  negotiation 
with  whomever  I  would  show  the  honour  of  entrust- 
ing the  care  of  my  interest  would  be  welcomed  with 
pleasure.  With  assurance  of  sincere  and  particular 
esteem,  von  R  k.  u.  k.,  Hauptman  in  the  k.  u.  k. 
Heavy  Artillery  Regiment  Nr.  8. 

When  my  secretary.  Dr.  Josef  Diamond,  showed 
up  I  gave  him  the  communication  which  he  read  and 
reread  without  saying  a  word.  He  had  become  very 
pale.  "Um  Gottes  Himmel  Willen!"  he  said 
hoarsely,  "You're  not  going  to  risk  your  life  at  the 
caprice  of  this  crack-brained  lieutenant!  Besides  he 
must  be  mad  to  call  you  out!     Your  life  is  precious 


132  The  Red  Garden 

I — , 

to  us  all  and  then  to  think  in  what  a  frightful  situation, 
with  what  responsibility  and  in  what  sorrow  you  would 
leave  me,  if — which  God  forbid.   .  .   ." 

Dr.  Diamond  had  talked  himself  into  a  state  of 
emotion  but  as  I  was  not  yet  dead,  I  explained  to  him 
that  we  could  hardly  fight  at  once  since  then  we 
should  probably  have  to  take  turns  at  shooting  with 
my  little  vest  pocket  automatic.  The  duel  at  the 
very  soonest  could  only  take  place  at  a  remote  date. 
Dr.  Diamond  quickly  felt  much  reassured.  I  then 
told  him  that  in  the  meanwhile  something  had  to  be 
done  so  that  the  laws  of  honour  could  be  satisfied,  if 
not  for  any  other  reason  than  because  of  the  Danish 
colours  which  I  was  pledged  to  represent  with  full 
honour  and  glory,  and  I  proposed  therefore  that  he, 
as  my  friend  and  closest  companion  in  Simbirsk, 
should  look  up  this  Captain  von  R  and  discuss  the 
matter  seriously  with  him  and  without  showing  any 
compliance  that  could  be  misconstrued. 

Dr.  Diamond  excused  himself  but  there  was  no 
firmness  in  his  refusal.  I  could  see  that  the  affair 
stimulated  his  spirit  of  enterprise  and  his  weakness 
for  sensation!  He  was  to  negotiate  with  a  von  R. 
as  a  second  and  therefore  on  an  equal  footing.  That 
was  something  new  and  unusual.  He  agreed  on  the 
condition  that  I  would  loan  him  a  black  necktie. 

When  Dr.  Diamond  had  once  agreed  he  immed- 
iately became  so  hasty  and  arrogant  that  I  had  fears 
he,  under  the  impression  that  the  danger  to  my  life 
belonged  to  a  distant  and  uncertain  future,  would 


Hapsburg  Officers  133 

be  a  party  to,  if  not  propose  himself,  some  such  ar- 
rangement as  horsepistols  at  six  paces  distance  until 
the  magazines  were  empty  or  one  of  the  combatants, 
lay  on  the  field  of  honour.  Therefore  I  bade  him 
go  easy  and  told  him  that  if  the  affair  could  not  be 
settled  with  honour,  I  would,  both  as  the  offended 
and  challenged  party,  choose  the  weapons,  and  I 
chose  swords.  "Swords!"  Dr.  Diamond  burst  out  in 
disappointment.  He  had  an  aversion  for  cold  steel. 
"Of  course,"  I  said  loftily,  "I  only  want  to  discipline 
the  fellow.  I'm  no  murderer!"  Dr.  Diamond's 
natural  good  nature  and  love  of  mankind  at  once 
came  to  life  again.  He  praised  my  magnaminity 
and  promised  to  turn  the  conversation  in  this  direc- 
tion when  he  met  the  other  second. 

Dr.  Diamond's  mission  had  hardly  so  honourable 
a  course  as  he  had  thought  it  would  have.  When  von 
R.  guessed  on  what  errand  Dr.  Diamond  came  to 
him  (for  Dr.  Diamond  came  a  great  deal  to  the  of- 
ficers as  middleman  for  loans  in  rubles  which  were  to 
be  paid  back  in  kroner)  he  choked  a  fit  down  with 
the  greatest  difficulty  and  rushed  so  vehemently  at 
the  unfortunate  Dr.  Diamond  that  the  latter  had  to 
withdraw  in  confusion.  Afterward  von  R.  revenged 
himself  further  by  overwhelming  the  lieutenant  colo- 
nel, who  had  been  the  cause  of  this  unspeakable  af- 
front, with  quite  uncontrolled  expressions  so  that  the 
two  gentlemen  brawled.  From  this  on  they  were  as 
air  for  each  other  in  the  room,  while  a  pair  of  their 
colleagues  sitting  on  the  edge  of  a  bed  but  otherwise 


134  The  Red  Garden 

'  — — I 

correct,  decided  what  the  consequences  of  the  broil 

must  be  and  recorded  and  signed  the  result  which 

finally  was  handed  to  the  colonel  for  sanction  and 

keeping. 

All  this  I  did  not  learn  from  Dr.  Diamond  who  had 
been  very  reserved  and  close-mouthed  regarding  the 
result  of  his  mission.  It  was  the  jovial  major  whose 
sympathy  I  had  won  who  thus  enlightened  me  and  at 
the  same  time  gave  his  merriment  free  rein  over 
what  had  passed :  "You  should  have  seen  von  R.  when 
your  Dr.  Diamond  trooped  up  and  presented  himself 
as  second.  I  had  to  go  outside  and  laugh.  You  see, 
he's  Polish,  this  von  R.  and  he  has  a  strong  drop  of 
the  Blood  himself  as  one  can  easily  see  and  he  is 
of  course  quite  fanatic  on  that  point.  But  then  too, 
it  was  a  wild  idea  of  yours  and  you  would  have  had 
another  duel  on  your  hands  if  I  hadn't  stepped  in  and 
explained  that  the  downright  heavenly  conditions  in 
your  native  land  excused  your  behaviour  and  natural 
blindness  in  regard  to  that  question.  We  Austrians 
have  good  reason  to  envy  you,  that  you  in  that  sense 
have  been  dealt  with  less  lavishly  from  nature's  hand 
than  we — " 

I  did  not  attempt  to  contradict  his  ideas  and  for  a 
moment  he  was  lost  in  thought  of  the  idyllic  Denmark 
of  which  he  had  heard  so  many  things  and  which  he 
wanted  so  much  to  make  his  new  fatherland.  ""Wir 
sind  ja  so  wie  so  kaput,"  he  added  with  melancholy. 
Before  we  parted  he  offered  to  arrange  my  difference 
with  the   OberleutJiant  von  S  for  me,   which  I   ac- 


Hapsburg  Officers  135 

cepted  gladly.  As  the  affair  was  now  commonly 
known,  a  reconciliation  could  no  longer  be  brought 
about,  and  it  was  therefore  definitely  decided  that 
we,  after  the  close  of  the  World  War,  should  meet 
at  a  place,  which  at  that  time  should  be  more  closely 
agreed  upon,  to  engage  in  a  rencontre  with  swords 
until  blood  flowed.  The  protocol  was  drawn  up  and 
signed  in  triplicate  of  which  the  colonel  received  one 
for  his  collection.  The  major  personally  brought 
me  my  copy  and  as  we  sat  in  the  garden  smoking 
Crown  cigars  bought  in  Moscow  and  beside  a  bottle 
of  port  wine  procured  by  Dr.  Diamond,  he  made  a 
gesture  in  the  direction  of  the  hospital  and  said  in 
his  broad  Viennese  while  his  pleasant  smile  caressed 
the  wine  in  his  glass:  "It's  easy  enough  for  us  to  sit 
here  now  and  grin  at  it  all.  But  out  of  regard  for 
the  others  and  for  their  prestige  that  was  the  best 
way.  With  these  people  one  shouldn't  reason.  It's 
a  mere  waste  of  words.  If  they  ever  stand  in  a  rag- 
ged uniform  and  sell  papers  in  Kartnerstrasse  then 
they  will  be  no  wiser  and  they  will  die  in  the  be- 
lief that  it  is  an  episode.  God  grant  that  their  duels 
are  settled  in  Heaven!"  And  with  that  he  set  his 
glass  to  his  mouth  and  emptied  it. 

The  week  after  a  hospital  train  came  from  Moscow 
and  took  my  invalids  back  there  and  further  on  to 
the  border.  I  stood  at  the  hospital  and  saw  the  little 
crowd  of  a  couple  of  hundred  turn  down  Kazan- 
skaja.     At  the  head  were  two  wagons  with  the  heavi- 


136  The  Red  Garden 

est  baggage  and  the  very  weakest  of  the  prisoners 
of  war  who  never  could  have  endured  the  six  or 
seven  versts  down  through  the  town  and  out  on  the 
other  side  to  the  railway  station.  It  was  pitiful 
enough  to  see  them  on  top  of  the  loads,  wasted  and 
chalky  white  and  constantly  groping  with  their  thin 
hands  among  the  bundles  and  chests  and  the  colonel's 
four  heavy  packages  for  a  position  that  would  ward 
off  the  remorseless  jolting  of  the  springless  wagon. 
Then  came  the  colonel  and  a  group  of  officers  and 
lastly  the  men  in  a  tattered  mass  flanked  by  a  pair  of 
indifferent  Red  Guards.  It  was  a  friendly  summer 
evening  as  light  and  mild  and  full  of  fragrance  and 
peace  as  if  there  were  nothing  in  the  world  but  na- 
ture's gentle  beauty  to  protect  the  happiness  of  human 
beings.  But  the  people  on  this  broad  green  Volga 
street  were  an  unreal  flock  of  ghosts  and  a  column  of 
worn  and  beaten  prisoners  who  with  bent  backs 
dragged  themselves  toward  home  where  they  felt  it 
so  much  easier  to  die.  I  wonder  if  these  broken 
beings  who  with  a  terrible  parodied  effect  wore  the 
grey-blue  remnants  of  their  uniforms,  still  remem- 
bered how  they  had  marched  away  to  the  sound  of 
drums  and  trumpets,  now  that  they  without  any  other 
sound  than  their  own  tired  and  irregular  footbeats 
were  driven  in  a  flock  to  the  last  marche  macabre  of 
their  military  life? 

When  the  column  far  down  the  street  turned  from 
Kazanskaja  into  Gontcharofskaja,  a  half  score  men 
had  already  dropped  back  at  various  distances  from 


Hapsburg  Officers  137 


the  main  body.  They  were  unable  to  keep  up  and 
no  one  looked  back  to  see  what  had  become  of  them. 
For  such  is  war  and  war's  eternal  law. 


The  Red  Garden 

IT  was  in  July,  1918.  Since  three  o'clock  in  the 
morning  I  had  been  pacing  back  and  forth  in  the 
railway  station  of  Alatyr,  waiting  for  the  train 
from  Kazan.  It  did  not  come.  In  the  waiting  room 
it  was  impossible  to  breathe  for  snoring  peasants  and 
soldiers.  I  could  have  stayed  in  the  hotel  and  slept, 
but  it  was  in  the  town  and  the  town  was  as  usual  five 
full  versts  from  the  station  so  that  the  train  might 
come  and  go  many  times  before  I  could  be  notified. 
No,  there  was  nothing  to  do  but  wait;  to  doze  on  a 
travelling  bag  with  my  back  against  the  wall  or  with 
my  head  in  my  hands;  to  eat  soup  and  drink  tea  at 
the  buff'et  when  that  variation  offered  itself,  and  to 
light  one  cigarette  with  the  butt  of  another. 

Along  toward  noon  an  armoured  train  arrived 
from  the  north.  Now  I  had  that  to  look  at,  anyway. 
It  was  manned  by  a  choice  selection  of  human  scum, 
escaped  convicts  with  low  criminal  foreheads  and 
runaway  schoolboys  whose  pale  features  bore  marks 
of  mental  bewilderment  and  early  physical  decay. 
But  otherwise  it  was  an  impressive  train.  First  class 
Entente  ware.  In  front  was  an  armoured  tower  with 
a  quick-firing  cannon  in  a  revolving  turret  and  with 
slits  in  the  sides  from  whose  depths  machine  gun 
barrels  gleamed  brassily.  After  this  came  the  mon- 
ster locomotive,  monitor-grey  like  the  rest.     It  was 

138 


The  Red  Garden  139 

armoured  right  down  to  the  tracks.  In  organic  con- 
nection with  it  was  a  long  corridor  car  for  riflemen, 
large  enough  to  hold  the  entire  crew  of  the  armoured 
train  during  combat.  The  rest  of  the  train  was  com- 
posed of  three  elegant  slender  Pullman  cars,  four 
tjepluskas,  or  box  cars,  with  ammunition  and  bag- 
gage, and  last  of  all  a  flat  freight  car  on  which  stood 
a  black  automobile  and  an  aeroplane. 

About  four  or  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  there 
were  signs  of  life  in  the  train,  and  the  engine  began 
to  get  up  steam.  It  was  going  to  leave  and  in  the 
direction  I  wanted  to  go.  I  asked  a  railway  man 
if  he  thought  there  was  any  chance  of  my  being  able 
to  go  along.  "What  do  you  want  to  mix  up  with 
that  Red  gang  for?"  he  said,  when  he  saw  and  heard 
that  I  was  a  stranger.  "Unless,  of  course,  you  want 
to  go  straight  to  hell.  But  now  it  looks  as  if  we 
might  be  getting  rid  of  this  plague.  The  Czecho- 
slovaks are  on  their  way.  There's  fighting  going 
on  not  a  hundred  versts  from  here.  And  anybody 
can  see  what  the  Reds  are  good  for.  They  put  seven- 
teen wounded  in  the  hospital,  but  what  kind  of 
Wounds  do  you  think  they  were?  Swine,  I  say,  ten- 
fold damned  swine!  But  the  Commandant  is  stand- 
ing over  there,  if  you  want  to  ask  him  anything." 

The  Commandant  of  the  train  was  a  sailor  from 
the  Baltic  fleet.  He  stood  on  a  step  which  was  let 
down  from  the  locomotive  and  he  was  talking  with 
the  engineer.  I  ventured  to  interrupt  the  conversa- 
tion by  handing  him  my  card  and  dropping  a  few 


140  The  Red  Garden 

words  to  the  effect  that  it  was  hard  for  a  diplomatic 
official  to  have  to  waste  his  valuable  time  at  a  damned 
tiresome  railway  station.  The  sailor  seemed  to 
understand.  He  was  an  unusually  handsome  fellow 
with  a  winning  smile.  There  wasn't  a  trace  of  vil- 
lainy about  him.  With  blue  eyes  in  a  sun-burnt, 
'dare-devil  face,  a  fine  curved  nose  and  soft  curly 
hair,  he  answered  completely  to  the  standard  descrip- 
tion of  the  hero  in  a  regular  boy's  story.  Apparently 
such  people  do  exist  if  one  only  knows  where  to 
look  for  them.  His  smile  hinted  at  dazzling  teeth 
as  he  bade  me  take  a  seat  in  the  foremost  car  and  if 
the  guard  made  any  trouble  to  refer  him  to  his  per- 
mission. Anyway  he  was  coming  himself,  right 
away.     We  were  leaving  in  ten  minutes. 

I  entered  the  foremost  car.  There  was  no  guard 
and  the  door  to  the  corridor  stood  open.  The  first 
compartment  was  a  kitchen.  On  a  table  stood  a  sam- 
ovar and  an  alcohol  burner.  On  the  floor  lay  a 
pile  of  wheat  bread  in  round  loaves,  a  half -emptied 
firkin  of  butter,  and  several  large  biscuit  boxes  with 
sugar.  It  was  almost  impossible  to  get  sugar.  I 
had  only  a  little  left  in  the  bottom  of  my  canteen  but 
now  I  got  it  filled. 

The  next  compartment  was  apparently  for  various 
members  of  the  crew,  but  they  were  not  there  at  the 
moment.  The  floor  and  the  sofa  seats  were  littered 
with  playing  cards,  bits  of  bread,  cast-off  clothing, 
tin  cups,  cartridges  and  sun  flower  seeds.  The  bag- 
gage racks  were  crammed  with  rifles,  belts,  sabres, 


The  Red  Garden  141 

and  hand  grenades  and  with  leather  articles  for  mil- 
itary use,  ranging  from  belts  and  map  cases  to  boots 
and  brand  new  saddles.  In  a  compartment  further 
along,  the  sleeping  accommodations  on  one  side  had 
been  broken  down,  and  the  wall  from  ceiling  to  floor 
covered  with  a  General  Staff  map  over  the  Volga  re- 
gion. To  all  appearances  this  was  the  Commandant's 
compartment.  I  went  in,  put  my  travelling  bag, 
which  contained  several  hundred  thousand  rubles, 
well  up  under  the  berth,  cleared  off  the  seat  and  sat 
down  on  my  raincoat  to  await  events. 

On  the  window  shelf  stood  a  typewriter  which  had 
been  stopped  in  the  middle  of  an  order.  There  was 
also  a  pile  of  papers,  telegrams  and  such,  but  I  was 
not  a  spy.  On  the  other  hand,  I  had  no  scruples 
about  studying  the  map  to  see  if  it  were  possible  to 
find  out  how  far  the  Czecho-Slovak  revolts  had 
reached.  But,  unfortunately,  it  contained  no  stra- 
tegic information.  Then  I  examined  two  Browning 
revolvers  and  a  Maxim  pistol  and  found  them  loaded 
in  all  chambers.  Lastly  I  turned  to  the  room's  col- 
lection of  books,  which  consisted  of  one  volume  of 
Jules  Verne's  collected  romances,  in  Russian  transla- 
tion, and  a  hideously  printed  pamphlet  dealing 
wiith  history's  most  notorious  regicides.  The  cover 
showed  a  picture  of  the  execution  of  Louis  the  Six- 
teenth. The  red  blood  flowed  in  a  thick  stream  down 
over  the  black  letters.  , 

Both  ten  and  twenty  minutes  passed  but  I  was  still 
alone  in  the  car.     I  was  almost  going  to  sleep.     But 


142  The  Red  Garden 


I  decided  not  to  when  I  heard  a  woman  humming  in 
the  next  compartment,  the  last  in  the  row,  and  the 
only  one  I  hadn't  investigated.  Soon  I  lit  a  cigarette 
and  went  out  into  the  corridor. 

The  door  was  ajar  and  gave  me  enough  of  a 
glimpse  of  the  compartment  to  disconcert  me  con- 
siderably. It  was  hung  from  ceiling  to  floor  with 
vari-coloured  silks,  and  these  were  again  decorated 
with  military  portraits  and  other  photographs  be- 
longing to  the  international  genre:  nu  artistique.  A 
crumpled  sky-blue  quilt  covered  the  sofa,  and  on  the 
floor  a  genuine  rug  had  been  folded  several  times. 
It  looked  as  if  the  services  of  a  powerful  vacuum 
cleaner  would  do  it  no  harm.  At  the  window,  be- 
fore a  dressing  table  and  with  her  back  to  the  door, 
sat  a  feminine  figure  clad  in  thin  silky  pyjamas  that 
still  had  a  pink  tendency,  and  with  her  feet  in  a  pair 
of  downy  slippers. 

With  deftly  wielded  brush  and  pencil  she  was 
in  the  act  of  practicing  that  intimate  art  which  women 
the  whole  world  over  call  to  their  aid  in  the  hope  of 
renewing  and  refining  their  natural  charm.  But 
what  struck  the  eye  more  than  anything  else  in  this 
extraordinary  boudoir  on  wheels  was  the  really  opu- 
lent collection  of  bottles,  flasks  and  vials,  jars,  cans 
and  jugs  which  were  spread  over  the  whole  room 
wherever  there  was  a  vacant  edge.  Judging  has- 
tily, there  was  everything  here  from  expensive  Pari- 
sian essences  to  brutally  stinking  Moscow  perfumes, 
rice  powder,  lip  sticks,  alum  and  cold  cream,  pom- 


The  Red  Garden  143 

ades,  rouges,  formols,  sublimates,  and  other  much 
more  mysterious  antiseptic  arcana. 

The  occupant  of  the  compartment  had  ceased  hum- 
ming and  was  subjecting  the  resuh  of  her  work  to 
a  critical  inspection.  Presumably  she  caught  a 
glimpse  of  me,  for  she  turned  suddenly,  and  when 
she  saw  that  I  was  engrossed  in  what  was  going  on 
on  the  platform,  she  tip-toed  to  the  door  and  shut 
it,  though  not  without  first  having  noted  my  foreign 
appearance.  I  caught  a  glimpse  of  her  black  eyes 
which  lit  a  smile,  and  I  saw  that  she  had  bobbed  hair 
and  was  about  seventeen. 

I  made  myself  comfortable  in  the  Commandant's 
place,  and  soon  after  she  came  in.  Now  she  was  all 
powdered  and  dressed  in  a  short  white  frock,  white 
stockings  and  shoes.  I  rose,  bowed  and  gave  my 
name.  She  wasn't  at  all  curious  to  know  how  I  hap- 
pened to  be  aboard  a  Bolshevik  armoured  train,  but 
just  asked  me  charmingly  how  I  was.  Later  she 
proposed  that  we  have  tea.  I  was  willing,  and  ac- 
companied her  to  the  front  room  to  help  cut  bread 
and  bring  the  samovar  to  a  boil. 

When  we  had  brought  everything  into  the  compart- 
ment and  cleared  the  shelf  of  typewriter  and  papers, 
the  sailor  finally  made  his  appearance.  He  thought 
it  was  fine  that  I  had  made  myself  at  home  in  the 
train  so  quickly,  and  in  spite  of  my  poor  Russian  had 
managed  to  make  myself  understood  by  Dolly  Mi- 
kailovna,  who  was  a  prominent  member  of  the  crew, 
a  sister  of  mercy,  and,  if  need  be,  a  physician.     Also 


144  The  Red  Garden 

she  was  chief  economist  of  the  household,  but  in 
case  of  danger  and  battle  she  was  a  soldier 
who  could  handle  a  machine  gun  as  well  as  her 
revolver. 

Several  hours  afterward,  we  rolled  briskly  south- 
ward. The  sailor  confided  to  me  that  his  train  was 
bound  in  the  direction  of  Syzran.  The  Czechs  had 
evacuated  Pensa,  but  had,  on  the  other  hand,  taken 
Samara,  and  perhaps  other  cities.  Communication 
between  Siberia  and  Turkestan  was  broken  off.  He 
couldn't  tell  me  whether  Simbirsk,  where  I  had  my 
delegation,  had  fallen,  but  he  supposed  so.  The 
situation  was  not  of  the  best. 

"What  can  I  do  with  that  kind  of  people,"  he  said 
and  gestured  toward  his  command  who  yelled  and 
fought  playfully  in  corridors  and  compartments. 
"We  haven't  any  discipline  in  the  army  yet,"  he  said. 
"In  a  way,  I'm  sorry  that  I  left  the  navy.  We  lay  in 
Reval  in  the  old  days.  Dolly  was  a  cabaret  singer 
— a  great  drawing  card.  All  the  officers  were  crazy 
about  her.  Well,  that's  over  now,  and  it's  just  as 
well.  If  we  only  could  get  this  fighting  over  with. 
I'm  not  particularly  fond  of  dragging  around  with 
this  train  and  a  collection  of  bums  who  run  when  they 
hear  the  first  shot.  And  then  their  filth!  They  ab- 
solutely don't  care,  either  about  themselves  or  other 
people." 

In  the  evening  our  train  stopped  and  remained 
standing  at  a  little  forest  station.  It  was  getting 
dark.     I  lay  down  in  the  soft  grass  next  to  the  track 


The  Red  Garden  145 


and  watched  the  half-grown  soldiers  fighting  and 
tumbling  each  other,  but  without  malice  and  less  like 
children  than  feeble-minded.  Dolly  Mikailovna  also 
came  out  to  enjoy  the  evening  breeze.  She  came 
with  two  young  rabbits  in  her  skirt,  one  milk-white 
with  pink  eyes  and  one  black  with  blue  eyes.  She 
lay  down  beside  me  and  let  go  the  animals,  and  they 
began  to  nip  the  grass  right  away,  hopping  around 
in  their  queer  funereal  manner,  with  ears  laid  back. 
When  the  soldiers  discovered  them,  they  came  run- 
ning over  and  wanted  to  pick  them  up  and  pet  them. 
But  they  soon  got  tired  of  that,  and,  drawing  revolvers 
out  of  their  back  pockets,  they  aimed  at  the  rabbits 
and  shouted  with  a  grin  if  she  thought  they  could  hit 
the  mark.  But  she  got  angry,  and  promised  to  take 
a  life  for  a  life.  Then  they  gave  up  the  idea  of 
killing  the  rabbits,  and  instead  aimed  at  us  and  at 
each  other,  yelling  and  gesturing  wildly,  now  and 
then  relieving  their  feelings  by  firing  a  shot  in  the 
air. 

When  it  got  quite  dark,  Dolly  Mikailovna  ordered 
them  to  drag  sticks  and  brushwood  together  on  the 
roadbed.  She  carried  the  rabbits  in,  and  came  back 
with  a  frying  pan,  butter  and  flour.  She  squatted  by 
the  blaze,  whose  smoke  in  the  quiet  evening  made  our 
eyes  smart,  while  the  crackling  flames  picturesquely 
illuminated  our  little  group.  In  her  thin  dress, 
Dolly's  young  luxuriance  was  revealed  against  the 
gleam  of  the  fire  in  transparent  contours.  But,  de- 
spite the  discomfort  of  .the  smoke  and  the  tiresome 


146  The  Red  Garden 


position  which  forced  her  to  gather  her  gown  over 
her  stockings,  she  bravely  kept  on  baking  water  pan- 
cakes as  long  as  anybody  would  eat  them.  After 
that  we  lay  for  yet  awhile  around  the  dying  fire  smok- 
ing cigarettes  and  conversing  to  the  fragile  music  of  a 
balaleika. 

Late  that  night  we  moved  off  again,  and  about  six 
in  the  morning  we  came  to  Sviagorod.  I  slept  in  the 
sailor's  berth  with  a  Russian  officer's  greatcoat  over 
me.  He  had  set  up  a  camp  cot  for  himself  under  the 
big  map.  He  was,  by  the  way,  not  in  the  compart- 
ment for  part  of  the  night. 

I  woke  up  because  the  train  wasn't  moving,  but  I 
couldn't  persuade  myself  to  get  up.  I  tried  to  get 
enough  sleep  by  dozing  for  a  while.  About  nine 
o'clock  I  came  out  at  the  station  to  wash  myself  at  the 
kipjatok,  and  I  found  most  of  the  soldiers  there 
splashing  water  on  each  other  with  playful  cries. 
When  I  had  had  my  head  under  the  cold  stream,  I 
took  warm  water  back  to  the  train  for  shaving.  My 
host  was  also  tidying  up.  He  was  going  to  Sviago- 
rod to  pay  a  visit  to  the  higher  authorities. 

It  was  nearly  noon  when  we  got  started,  since  the 
automobile  had  to  be  taken  off  the  train.  That  day 
Dolly  Mikailovna  appeared  in  the  costume  of  a  sister 
of  mercy,  which  barely  hid  other  articles  of  cloth- 
ing. But  it  was  certainly  terribly  hot.  She  had 
thrown  a  kerchief  over  her  page-like  hair.  In  the 
sharp  sunlight,  her  face  in  spite  of  its  youth  was  as 
fatally  wasted  as  a  moon  landscape,  and  the  chalk- 


The  Red  Garden  147 

>  ■III.  I  ^M^»^l—  -I  I  ■     ■  I         I       I  Ill—Ill  I     I—-      I  < 

white  powder  couldn't  eover  up  an  occasional  erup- 
tion. But  she  was  as  merry  as  a  magpie,  her  laugh- 
ter was  deep  as  a  cough  and  keen  as  the  noise  of  a 
grindstone,  and  her  body  was  a  column  of  quicksilver 
and  a  living  animal  under  the  thin  linen.  When  we 
were  seated  in  the  car,  the  sailor  at  the  wheel  and 
Dolly  and  I  in  the  back  seat,  it  wouldn't  start.  A 
blue  cloud  of  stinking  naphtha  welled  from  the  ex- 
haust, and  the  motor  exploded  like  a  machine  gun. 
Another  half  hour  went  by  before  the  car  began  to 
move.  Then  we  jumped  on  again  in  a  hurry,  to  be 
along  when  it  started,  and,  with  a  couple  of  soldiers 
clinging  to  each  running  board,  we  flew  forward  with 
every  horse  power  unleashed. 

There  was  nothing  very  remarkable  about  Sviago- 
rod.  It  baked  in  the  blaze  of  the  sun  with  all  its 
streets  flung  gapingly  empty.  Wooden  villas  stood 
with  closed  green  shutters  in  the  midst  of  neglected 
gardens.  We  rushed  by  other  houses  whose  doors 
and  windows  were  wide  open  so  that  we  could  see 
the  dusty  remains  of  furniture  within.  Their  bitter 
expression  of  desertion  left  a  brief  sadness  in  the 
mind.  We  came  past  a  white  church  with  blue  onion 
cupolas,  and  then  across  the  market-place.  It  was 
Saturday  and  market-day,  but  there  were  only  a  few 
peasant  wagons  around.  But  a  great  many  Austro- 
Hungarian  prisoners  of  war  loitered  here,  looking  at 
the  produce  with  eyes  whose  natural  ravenousness 
had  been  tempered  by  long  abstinence.  They  were 
easily  recognizable,  in  spite  of  their  patches  and  cast- 


148  The  Red  Garden 

, — -I 

off  Russian  rags,  by  some  remnant  of  a  blue-grey  uni- 
form, usually  the  cap,  which  had  survived  war  and 
imprisonment  and  years  of  vagabondage.  Most  of 
them  could  be  told  by  their  features  which  could  not 
be  mistaken  for  those  of  either  Russian  or  Tartar. 

The  Soviet  of  Sviagorod  was  housed  in  the  city 
Duma's  building  on  the  market-place.  When  our 
car  swung  up  before  the  arcade,  the  guard  had  been 
called  to  arms,  and  stood  ready  with  a  machine 
gun.  One  never  could  tell  in  these  times!  All  of 
them  were  Hungarians,  by  the  way,  picked  red 
guards. 

The  President  of  the  soviet  and  the  Com- 
mandant of  the  town — he  combined  the  two  offices — 
was  a  Red  Jew  who  had  some  manufactured  name 
which  I  have  forgotten.  His  age  was  uncertain. 
There  were  moments  when  he  looked  like  quite  a 
young  man  whose  features  had  been  ruined  early, 
and  others  when  he  resembled  an  old  man  to  whom 
some  sort  of  disease  had  given  a  glow  of  false  youth. 
His  sparse  newly  cropped  hair  revealed  several  bare 
spots.  His  eyes  were  especially  remarkable.  They 
were  without  real  expression,  but  at  times  they  flamed 
and  a  reddish  light  seemed  then  to  radiate  from  them. 
Altogether,  he  gave  the  impression  of  being  a  man  of 
superior   gifts,  but  undeniably  not  quite   all  there. 

He  looked  startled  when  he  saw  me,  and  it  got 
worse  when  he  perused  my  diplomatic  papers  and 
learned  my  errand.  His  whole  body  shook  with 
poorly  controlled  rage  and  gnashing  his  teeth  like 


The  Red  Garden  149 

a  baited  despot,  he  told  me  that  he  didn't  recognize 
the  bourgeois  governments  of  Europe.  As  far  as  he 
was  concerned,  they  were  simply  nothing  but  air. 
And  as  for  these  prisoners  in  whom  I  was  interested, 
they  no  longer  existed.  He  was  no  gaoler  for  capi- 
talism. In  free  Russia,  every  one  who  wants  to  can 
be  a  free  citizen  and  doesn't  have  to  be  fed  on  the 
illusion  of  bourgeois  philanthropy. 

With  that,  he  turned  his  back  on  me  and  began  to 
ogle  Dolly  Mikailovna.     Later,  however,  I  was  re- 
stored to  grace  again,  since  he  emphasized  that  Dolly 
Mikailovna's  friends  and  guests  were  also  his.     He 
invited  me  to  dinner  that  day,  and  also  to  attend  a 
great  Communist  celebration  which  was  to  take  place 
the  following  Sunday.     On  that  occasion  a  magnifi 
cent  public  park,  Krasnij  Sad,  i.  e.,  the  Red  Garden 
would    be    turned    over    to    the    grateful    populace 
With  a  Satanic  smile  he  remarked  that  he  would  con 
sider  it  an  honour  to  wrest  such  promising  youthful 
ness  from  capitalistic  diplomacy. 

"You  belong  to  us  already,  I  can  read  in  your 
eye  that  you  are  without  prejudice.  But  you  have 
never  felt  the  truth  within  you.  You  haven't  been 
filled  with  mighty  idea  of  human  brotherhood. 
But  it,  too,  shall  flower  in  your  young  blood."  He 
regarded  me  with  an  odd  look,  gripped  my  arm,  and 
putting  his  mouth  to  my  ear,  he  whispered,  "I  will 
confide  in  you.  In  me  is  truth.  I  am  the  resur- 
rected saviour  of  the  new  time.  I  am  .  .  ."  He  sud- 
denly wiped  his  brow  and  came  to  his  senses  with  a 


150  The  Red  Garden 

smile.  "It's  hot,"  he  said,  without  transition,  and 
after  that  he  didn't  utter  one  irrational  word. 

After  dinner,  which  was  without  alcohol  and  not  too 
rich  though  well  prepared  by  a  Viennese  cook,  I 
sauntered  out  through  the  town.  The  others  drove  to 
the  barracks  to  arrange  some  details  for  the  big  mili- 
tary parade  for  next  day.  I  understood  of  course 
that  although  it  was  to  serve  a  festive  purpose,  it 
had  a  deeper  meaning  when  one  remembered  that 
the  Czecho-Slovak  danger  came  a  little  nearer  to 
Sviagorod  each  day.  I  still  felt  rather  uncomforta- 
ble after  the  scene  with  the?  Jew,  but  that  soon  passed 
away  when  I  begun  to  talk  with  some  bearded  old 
prisoners  of  war.  They  had  never  seen  a  delegate 
before,  and  very  properly  didn't  expect  miracles 
from  the  one  they  now  saw.  The  officers  were  dif- 
ferent. They  always  believed  that  now  they  were 
going  to  be  sent  home  at  once  tQ  glory  and  grandeur. 
I  inquired  about  conditions  and  bought  some  pack- 
ages of  Mahorka  tobacco  for  division  among  the  pri- 
soners. 

They  complained  mostly  about  their  younger 
comrades  who  had  joined  the  Red  Guard  and  who 
were  now  pestering  the  life  out  of  them  to  get  them 
to  do  likewise.  "Of  course,"  they  hinted,  "the  food 
is  good,  and  they  give  uniform,  tea  and  sugar  and 
three  hmidred  rubles  a  month,  and  if  they  tried  to 
send  you  to  the  front  it's  easy  enough  to  beat  it.  A 
week  ago  a  regiment  came  through  here  from  Tam- 
bof.     Two  hundred  men  had  deserted,  and  the  other 


The  Red  Garden  151 

, — _ — 1 

three  hundred  were  only  waiting  for  their  chance. — 
No,  it  isn't  very  dangerous,  but,  still,  you  never  can 
tell — and  there's  the  wife  and  children  at  home — 
and  the  property!  It's  better  to  stick  it  out  for  a 
while  longer."  In  this  good  intention  I  encouraged 
them.  They  wouldn't  say  anything  bad  about  the 
Russians.  Most  of  them  were  crazy,  of  course,  and 
careless  rather  than  downright  evil.  Everything  was 
in  the  most  terrible  disorder.  Maintenance  in  the 
camp  was  a  thing  of  the  past,  and  still  orders  came 
that  no  one  was  to  leave  it.  There  wasn't  a  rag  of 
clothes  to  get,  and  little  to  earn  for  those  who 
weren't  professionals.  But  the  worst  thing  about  the 
commissar  rule  was  that  they  used  the  prisoners  of 
war  for  all  the  work  which  the  Russians  were  too 
lazy  to  do.  They  had  to  clean  stables  and  barracks 
and  hospitals,  and  lately  they  had  been  forced  to  do 
all  the  work  connected  with  the  new  Communist  park 
— in  the  blazing  sunshine — getting  nothing  but  dry 
bread  for  it.  Fine  freedom,  wasn't  it?  These 
scoundrels  could  call  themselves  Proletarians  and 
Bolshevists,  Communist  and  Internationalists  or  what- 
ever they  pleased,  the  old  Russian  laziness  and  loaf- 
ing and  thievery  was  right  there  just  the  same. 

I  left  these  prisoners  both  irritated  and  enlivened 
by  their  honest  anger.  With  these  men  from  Karn- 
then  and  Tyrol  and  Salzburg,  one  could  talk  as  if 
they  were  one's  own  people.  My  old  grandfather, 
himself  a  farmer,  would  have  stood  just  this  way 
and  sucked  his  pipe  and  growled  at  the  oppressors, 


152  The  Red  Garden 

if  it  had  been  his  fate  to  fall  into  Russian  war  im- 
prisonment. 

In  the  evening  I  drove  back  to  the  railway  station 
with  the  sailor.  Dolly  Mikailovna  didn't  come. 
She  spent  the  night  in  town. 

Before  we  left  the  next  morning,  Dolly  Mikailovna 
came  back  in  one  of  the  soviet  cars  to  change  her  cos- 
tume. She  was  to  take  part  in  the  parade  with  a 
detachment  of  the  crew  from  the  armoured  train. 
The  sailor  and  I  drove  out  to  lunch  with  the  soviet. 

The  parade  was  to  start  at  three  o'clock.  The 
commissars  and  staff  stood  on  the  balcony  of  the 
arcade  and  saluted  the  red  colours.  They  were  all  in 
warlike  array,  with  many  weapons,  map  cases  and 
binoculars,  but  none  outdid  the  red  Jew  who  in  spite 
of  the  heat  wore  a  leaden  grey,  steel  helmet  with  a 
red,  seven-pointed  star  in  front.  He  wore  long, 
spurred  patent-leather  boots  and  also  a  shining  sabre, 
which  in  Russia  is  a  fantastic  and  foreign  weapon. 
His  right  sleeve  was  ornamented  with  the  well  known 
emblem  of  the  shock  troops,  a  white  death's  head  in 
silver  over  two  crossed  bones  on  a  red  background. 
The  sailor  at  his  side,  in  his  plain  blouse  and  with 
black  and  orange  ribbons  on  his  cap,  didn't  look 
like  any  great  military  genius. 

I  had  chosen  to  place  myself  in  the  shade  of  the 
arcade,  so  as  not  to  alienate  the  prisoners  or  create 
false  impressions  among  the  Hungarian  Red  Guards. 
Here  was  also  the  band  of  the  Austrian  prisoners 
which  was  to  play  for  the  parade  and  later  for  the 


The  Red  Garden  153 

fete.  They  had  not  been  requested  to  march  with 
their  instruments  in  the  sun.  It  was  tacitly  under- 
stood that  their  art  raised  them  above  their  plight, 
and  that  the  success  of  the  celebration  depended 
largely  on  their  music  and  good  will. 

The  parade  had  in  the  meanwhile  begun.  It 
didn't  tire  anybody  by  being  too  long.  There  were 
two  Polker,  or  regiments  of  about  two  hundred  men 
each.  The  men  slouched  in  whatever  step  pleased 
them.  Many  of  them  were  prisoners  of  war,  notably 
Hungarians  and  Prussians.  A  military  bearing  came 
over  them  whether  they  would  or  not  when  they  again 
got  weapons  in  hand,  so  that  they  couldn't  possibly 
be  mistaken  for  Russian  Red  Guards,  only  a  few  of 
whom  had  been  in  the  war.  After  the  infantry  came 
a  machine  gun  section,  a  score  and  a  half  men  on 
small  brown  horses.  A  field  piece  with  team  rep- 
resented the  heavier  calibres. 

Last  in  line  came  a  troop  from  the  armoured  train, 
with  a  red  banner  on  which  there  was  printed  in  gold 
letters.  Armoured  Train:  Karl  Marx.  Behind  the 
banner  walked  Dolly  Mikailovna.  She  looked  splen- 
did in  aviation  cap  and  white  sailor  silk  blouse, 
bright  red  tie,  revolver-holster  at  her  belt,  khaki- 
coloured  riding  breeches,  and  long  yellow  boots 
laced  to  the  knees.  As  she  passed  the  arcade,  she 
saluted  with  her  sword  and  a  smile. 

During  the  review  we  had  all  stood  with  bared 
heads  while  the  band  played  alternately  the  Marseil- 
laise, and  the  Honour  March  of  the  First  Vienna  Reg- 


154  The  Red  Garden 

I 

iment.  Later  we  all  marched  off  with  the  band 
leading  and  the  local  Communist  party,  men,  women 
and  children,  bringing  up  the  rear.  The  road,  white 
as  powder,  seemed  to  lead  right  up  into  the  sun. 

The  garden,  however,  was  not  very  far  from  the 
centre  of  the  city.  Before  being  nationalized,  it  had 
been  the  property  of  a  Prince  Gagarin,  and  it  still 
showed  feeble  traces  of  French  gardening.  But 
great  arbitrary  changes  had  been  made  in  it  to  make 
it  more  popular.  The  whole  central  part  had  been 
razed  to  make  room  for  a  band  stand  and  open  space. 
Here  a  statue  had  been  raised  which  was  to  be  un- 
veiled during  the  celebration.  It  stood  in  the  centre 
of  one  of  the  long  sides  of  the  place,  still  cloaked  in 
its  cover  of  coarse  military  linen,  against  a  back- 
ground of  black  cypresses  and  tujas.  A  speaker's 
stand  draped  in  red  stood  to  the  right  of  it. 

As  soon  as  we  entered  the  garden,  the  procession 
broke  up.  The  soldiers  stacked  their  rifles  and  laid 
their  hand-grenades  in  the  grass.  As  guests,  we  were 
shown  to  some  chairs  directly  in  front  of  the  speaker's 
stand.  At  the  market-place  there  had  been  only  a 
few  spectators;  here  a  part  of  the  civilian  popula- 
tion seemed  to  have  come,  mostly  young  girls  loth 
to  let  their  youth  wither  at  home.  There  are  so  few 
amusements  in  a  small  town;  there  were  fewer  now, 
and  there  was  nothing  binding  after  all,  in  coming 
to  watch  the  latest  invention  of  the  Reds. 

Now  the  band  played  The  Beautiful  Blue  Danube. 
Then  the  Jew  stepped  up  on  the  stand  and  laid  his 


The  Red  Garden  155 

helmet  in  front  of  him.  He  sweated  large  drops, 
but  we  all  did  that,  and  he  was  very  pale.  The  burn- 
ing sun  had  had  no  effect  on  his  colour.  He  began 
to  speak.  He  spoke  well,  but  it  seemed  as  if  he 
weren't  really  interested  in  what  he  was  saying  him- 
self. A  rich  stream  of  Bolshevik  and  general  Social- 
ist doctrines  flowed  from  his  mouth,  without  exertion 
but  also  without  any  leading  idea.  In  the  right  spots 
he  paused  and  let  the  Communists  applaud.  Dolly 
Mikailovna  yawned  without  embarrassment.  She 
had  put  her  arm  through  mine.  I  heard  him  men- 
tion Karl  Marx  and  Engels  and  thought  that  now  the 
unveiling  of  the  statue  must  follow.  But  he  got  past 
them  and  nothing  happened.  Then  he  presented  the 
Red  Garden  to  the  town,  and  hoped  that  it  would  be 
made  to  serve  the  public  welfare,  the  development  of 
the  arts,  and  the  free  expansion  of  love.  It  was  a 
symbol  of  the  solicitude  of  the  Soviet  Republic  for 
the  weal  and  woe  of  the  proletarian  masses.  But  it 
ought  also  to  become  a  sanctuary  for  the  people,  a 
successor  to  the  ignorant  church  of  the  pope  or  priest, 
yes,  on  this  very  spot  there  ought  to  be  a  Pantheon 
for  the  heroes  of  international  fraternity.  Here,  in 
the  course  of  time,  would  rise  columns  and  statues 
to  men  like  Plato  and  Babeuf,  Blanqui  and  Deles- 
cluze,  Lenin  and  Liebknecht.  With  the  assistance  of 
an  Austrian  sculptor,  formerly  a  prisoner  but  now  a 
free  soviet  citizen,  he  had  begun  the  work,  and 
caused  the  first  memorial  to  be  raised.  He  had  long 
wavered  in  the  choice  of  the  historic  personality  to 


156  The  Red  Garden 

I— — — — — — — ■ —  I 

whom  the  first  honour  should  be  shown.  He  had 
thought  of  Lucifer  and  of  Cain.  They  were  both 
wronged;  they  were  both  rebels,  revolutionaries  of 
super-magnitude.  But  the  former  was  a  theologi- 
cal figure  whose  supernatural  character  did  not  fit 
in  with  Marxian  views.  His  light  had  been  quenched 
in  the  collapse  of  that  society  whose  fear  and  hatred 
he  symbolized.  And  the  latter  was  a  mythological 
personage  whose  historic  existence  was  very  doubt- 
ful. His  attention  had  therefore  turned  to  a  figure 
unmistakably  of  this  earth,  a  historic  man  who  like- 
wise had  been  the  victim  of  the  religious  views  of 
predatory  society.  .  .  .  And,  that  being  the  case, 
should  any  one  be  considered  before  the  man  who  for 
two  thousand  years  innocently  had  been  chained  to 
the  pillory  of  a  capitalist  interpretation  of  history, 
the  great  Proletar-Prometheus,  the  Red  forerunner 
of  world  revolution,  the  bourgeois  redeemer  Christ's 
twelfth  apostle — Judas  Iscariot! 

The  speaker  had  gradually  worked  himself  into 
an  ecstasy.  The  audience  hardly  understood  what 
he  was  saying,  but  they  felt  uncomfortable  under  his 
burning  gaze.  Some  shouted,  but  a  number  of  Rus- 
sians piously  crossed  themselves.  The  Jew  was  si- 
lent, but  he  did  not  appear  anxious  about  the  eff"ect  of 
his  words.  His  features  seemed  rather  to  express  a 
painful  uncertainty.  He  began  again,  haltingly, 
speaking  of  the  hour  of  restitution  and  the  apostle 
of  the  oppressed,  the  dictatorship  of  the  proletariat, 
brotherhood,  the  Internationale  .  .  .  but  he  got  no- 


The  Red  Garden  157 

where.  His  face  was  convulsed  as  if  under  the  lash 
of  a  harrowing  thought.  With  both  hands  he 
clutched  the  speaker's  stand,  and  his  fingers  and  nails 
bored  through  the  red  cloth.  Then  his  countenance 
cleared,  he  leaned  forward  and  spoke  mysteriously: 
"I  bring  you  the  message,"  he  said,  and  laid  his  hand 
on  his  breast,  "I  bear  the  sin  of  all  time.  In  me  is 
the  truth.  Don't  you  know  me?  I  am  the  saviour 
of  our  time.  I  am  he,"  he  whispered.  There  was 
no  doubt  possible.  The  man  was  mad.  He  thought 
he  was  Judas. 

At  that  moment  the  whir  of  an  aeroplane,  coming 
over  the  garden,  slammed  through  the  heated  air. 
He  listened  an  instant  and  drew  his  hand  across  his 
forehead.  "Long  live  the  world  revolution,"  he 
shouted  with  a  sudden  inspiration,  and  left  the 
speaker's  stand,  perfectly  self-controlled,  bowed 
for  Dolly  Mikailovna  and  asked  her  to  unveil  the 
statue. 

Dolly  Mikailovna  rose,  and  the  Jew  placed  a  cord 
in  her  hand.  Tugging  at  it  a  couple  of  times,  she 
made  the  cover  fall  off  a  figure,  rusty  red  in  colour, 
and  as  yet  only  in  plaster.  It  was  a  superhuman 
size,  naked,  and  the  face,  which  resembled  the  Com- 
missar's, was  turned  threateningly  toward  heaven, 
while  the  hands  with  a  passionate  movement  sought 
to  remove  a  piece  of  real  hempen  rope  around  the 
neck. 

When  the  apostle  was  seen  the  band  pom- 
pously struck  into  the  Internationale,  and  we  rose  and 


158  The  Red  Garden 

bared  our  heads,  overwhelmed  by  the  power  of  the 
music.  At  the  other  end  of  the  garden,  three  shots 
in  quick  succession  were  fired  from  the  field  piece. 
They  were  not  blanks.  The  shells  went  over  our 
heads  with  a  devilish  whistle  and  rush  that  made  me 
tremble,  and  God  knows  where  they  ended.  I  heard 
the  Red  Jew  say  something  to  Dolly  Mikailovna, 
after  which  he  embraced  her  and  kissed  her  on  the 
mouth. 

Before  I  had  any  idea  what  was  coming  she  had 
turned  toward  me  and  I  felt  her  body,  soft  as  elas- 
tic, in  my  embrace,  and  the  odour  of  her  rank  powder 
in  my  nostrils  while  her  moist  blood-red  lips  closed 
over  mine  as  a  lukewarm  sea.  For  a  moment  the 
heat  seemed  to  burst  into  flames.  Since  my  look 
didn't  express  the  proper  comprehension,  Dolly 
Mikailovna  laughed  at  me  and,  turning  to  the  man 
next  to  her,  gave  him  the  kiss,  which  then  went  from 
mouth  to  mouth.  I  felt  weak  in  the  knees  and  sick. 
I  nearly  had  a  sunstroke  in  this  open  place  with  the 
sun  on  my  head.  I  almost  staggered  over  behind  the 
apostle  in  the  dark  of  the  cypresses. 

When  the  coolness  of  night  came  on,  the  dancing 
began.  A  few  lanterns  gleamed  in  the  trees,  but 
they  soon  went  out.  Only  the  dancing  floor  was  il- 
luminated, an  arclight  threw  its  moon  whiteness  on 
the  expressive  figure  of  the  statue.  People  were 
scattered  in  the  dark  garden.  It  was  a  gorgeous  sum- 
mer night.  The  waltz  beats  of  the  kettle-drums 
sounded  like  a  bit  of  noise  somewhere  on  the  earth, 


The  Red  Garden  159 

,111 

but  from  space  came  the  great  tone  of  silence.  Far 
above  our  heads,  in  the  blue  firmament  of  night,  the 
lights  of  heaven  quivered  in  a  gentle  dance,  the  eter- 
nal Internationale  of  the  stars. 


Russian  Bourgeoisie 

Mais  oil  sont  les  neiges  d'antan? 

Villon 

ONE  evening  in  the  spring  of  1917,  I  dined  in 
the  home  of  a  Russian  princess  in  Petrograd. 
At  the  time  that  was  an  experience  which  was 
worth  while  accepting.  The  table  was  set  with  white 
damask,  with  roses,  and  Sevres  ware,  crowned  and 
monogrammed.  The  tapers  in  the  heavy  silver  can- 
delabra lit  a  golden  glow  in  the  massive  tableware. 
Four  costly  glasses  stood  at  each  couvert  and  Chateau 
la  Rose  and  Louis  Roederer  and  sweet  Crimean  wine 
were  poured  by  Tartar  lackeys  with  heads  shaved  as 
naked  as  eggs.  Officially  there  was  prohibition  in 
the  land  and  the  common  people  had  only  home-made 
alcohol  and  furniture  polish  to  drink.  The  fish  was 
a  sturgeon  that  reached  half  the  length  of  the  table 
and  the  ice  was  modelled  in  the  form  of  a  Troika 
whose  team  bore  real  small  silver  bells  that  tinkled 
as  the  cook  in  snow  white  garb  and  high  cap  carried 
it  around. 

After  the  dinner  the  small  company  gathered  in  a 
rococo  salon  papered  and  upholstered  in  light  red 
where  all  that  was  soft  was  silk  and  the  rest  carved 
and  inlaid  wood,  bronze,  marble  and  malachite. 
The  place  was  full  of  bric-a-brac  in  glass  cabinets 

160 


Russian  Bourgeoisie  161 

»  I 

and  on  the  walls  hung  French  etchings  where  the 
ladies  bared  their  breasts,  and  wherever  there  was 
room  stood  replicas  in  bronze  of  both  antique  and 
modem  works  of  art.  Aphrodite  and  the  Discobolus, 
Apollo  and  Laocoon,  Voltaire  and  Napoleon,  "Cour- 
age," "The  Dance,"  "The  Swimmer,"  and  "Two 
Beings,"  costly  souvenirs  from  the  finest  fancy  shops 
of  the  capitals  of  Europe  and  an  entire  art  museum 
en  minature. 

Among  the  guests  was  a  physician,  Dr.  Taube,  a 
Baltic  citizen  by  birth  but  now  residing  in  one  of  the 
cities  on  the  Volga  where  I  understood  he  combined  a 
university  post  (he  was  a  pharmaceutist)  with  the 
possession  of  a  drug  store  and  various  industrial 
enterprises.  We  had  a  lively  conversation.  He 
gave  me  many  enlightening  details  of  the  presumable 
causes  of  the  recent  revolution  and  the  abdication  of 
the  Tsar  and  spoke  with  enthusiasm  of  the  continua- 
tion of  the  war  and  with  confidence  of  the  will  and 
ability  of  the  Entente  and  America  to  help  Russia. 
To  be  sure  the  internal  conditions  were  not  of  the 
best,  that  he  admitted  openly,  but  it  was  not  too  much 
to  hope  that  the  emerging  Kerensky,  who  undoubt- 
edly was  a  genius  at  leadership,  before  long  would 
have  demonstrated  his  right  to  go  down  in  history  as 
the  Napoleon  of  the  Russian  Revolution!  A  bridge 
game  broke  off  this  conversation  which  was  very  in- 
teresting to  me,  a  newcomer,  but  I  saw  to  it  that  at 
the  breaking  up  of  the  party  1  accompanied  him. 
Quite  as  a  matter  of  course  we  went  together  to  the 


162  The  Red  Garden 

I . — . — . —  I 

nearby  embassy  palace  where  he  remained  for  sev- 
eral hours  at  a  cigar  and  a  bottle  of  wine  before  he 
went  home  to  his  hotel  on  the  Moika. 

I  had  another  fleeting  talk  with  Dr.  Taube  in  Petro- 
grad,  then  he  went  away,  presumably  back  to  his  city 
on  the  Volga.  Events  that  individually  were  as  im- 
portant and  fateful  as  dates  in  a  history  textbook 
followed  one  upon  the  other  and  I  doubt  if  I  thought 
of  Dr.  Taube  at  all  until  I  unexpectedly  saw  him  a 
year  later.  It  was  in  the  month  of  June,  1918,  and 
in  the  office  of  the  German  Commission  in  Kazan 
about  the  time  the  Tsar  family  was  murdered  in 
Ekaterinburg. 

The  Commission  which  was  in  Kazan  for  the  spe- 
cial purpose  of  attending  to  the  repatriation  of  pris- 
oners of  war,  was  lodged  in  the  home  of  the  German 
evangelical  pastor.  The  pastor  himself  had  moved 
up  to  the  top  floor  with  his  four  grown  daughters. 
In  the  pastor's  study  where  formerly,  at  an  evening 
glass  of  tea,  my  eyes  had  rested  on  lithographs  of 
Gethsemane  and  Calvary,  on  Magdalenes  and  Marys 
with  tears  on  their  cheeks  as  large  as  dove's  eggs  and 
on  Jesus  driving  the  money  changers  from  out  the 
temple  of  the  Lord,  the  walls  now  glared  with  statis- 
tical charts  and  supersize  Gott  strafe  England!  cari- 
catures. 

Herr  Oberleutnant  S.  besides  being  an  officer  was 
also  a  Doctor  of  Laws.  He  was  a  real  Teuton,  blond, 
sharp-featured  as  a  head  of  Goethe,  stem  as  a  bust  of 
the  Iron  Chancellor,  and  with  the  expression  of  slight 


Russian  Bourgeoisie  163 

stupidity  fit  and  proper  for  a  lieutenant.  One  fore- 
noon I  had  business  with  him,  I  came  upon  Dr. 
Taube  sitting  in  the  anteroom.  The  meeting  was  cor- 
dial. Dr.  Taube  at  once  asked  me  if  I  would  help 
him  with  the  Oberleutnant:  the  Bolsheviki  had  na- 
tionalized his  drug  store  and  he  requested  now  as  a 
buyer  in  peace  time  of  German  medicine  en  gros,  the 
intervention  of  the  German  embassy  with  the  Central 
Soviet  in  Moscow.  I  had  to  cry  quits,  it  was  beyond 
my  resources.  I  heard  later  that  the  Oberleutnant 
was  far  from  gracious,  but  thanks  to  the  commercial- 
minded  reserve  lieutenant  who  formerly  had  been  a 
travelling  salesman  in  Russia  and  who  on  the  na- 
tion's and  his  own  behalf  was  preparing  the  way  for 
future  trade,  a  telegram  regarding  Dr.  Taube's  drug 
business  was  after  all  sent  off  to  "Botschafter"  Count 
Mirbach  in  Moscow.  It  must  just  about  have  had 
time  to  reach  his  writing  table  before  he  met  his 
death  at  the  revolvers  of  the  Social-Revolutionaries. 
I  was  of  course  invited  to  visit  Dr.  Taube.  He 
lived  in  a  fine  old  comer  house  where  the  drug  store 
took  up  the  whole  ground  floor  while  the  living  quar- 
ters were  on  the  second  story.  I  went  up  a  white- 
enameled  stairway  with  red  carpets  and  green  palms. 
A  maid  in  a  white  cap  answered  the  door  and  two 
big  greyhounds  rose  to  their  feet  and  looked  hospi- 
tably at  me  after  having  sniffed  at  my  clothes.  Dr. 
Taube's  workroom  was  full  of  antique  furniture. 
Glass  cases  with  costly  medicinal — or  was  it  pharma- 
ceutical?— apparatus  met  the  eye.     The  walls  were 


164  The  Red  Garden 

■  I  II   1 1        ■       ■  i   ■         '■-  -— ■'■  "  ■■■ — — ■  I.  .     -.1—  rf 

decorated  with  Chinese  swords  in  carved  ivory  scab- 
bards, Circassian  sabres  inlaid  with  silver,  and  pis- 
tols from  Turkestan  with  massive  silver  balls  at  the 
butt  ends.  There  were  also  binoculars  and  high 
quality  English  hunting  guns,  and,  taken  all  in  all, 
everything  that  a  cultivated  amateur  could  find  pleas- 
ure in  owning  and  a  rich  man  without  hesitation  could 
procure  for  himself. 

Dr.  Taube  set  out  Havana  cigars  (he  still  had  sev- 
eral boxes)  and  a  percolator  of  coffee  was  brought 
in.  While  the  grounds  were  settling  we  sipped  at  a 
genuine  cognac.  Dr.  Taube  told  me  that  "la  prin- 
cesse,"  our  hostess  of  the  dinner  the  year  before,  had 
fled  to  Finland.  She  had  had  a  large  estate  in  the 
Tambof  not  far  from  a  factory  owned  by  Dr.  Taube 
or  rather  by  his  wife.  He  had  not  long  ago  had  oc- 
casion to  substantiate  the  rumour  that  all  the  build- 
ings on  the  estate,  even  to  the  schools,  had  been  burnt. 
Immeasurable  damage  and  loss  had  occurred.  The 
park  had  been  wrecked,  the  fish  basins  of  Ural  mar- 
ble were  splintered  to  slivers,  the  peasants  had  not 
left  one  stone  on  another  of  a  wonderful  little  palace 
done  in  the  style  of  the  Trianon  which  the  princess 
had  built  for  her  thirty-six  pet  monkeys  and  which 
had  been  an  unique  example  of  ingenious  accommo- 
dation and  a  source  of  endless  amusement  for  the 
guests  of  the  estate.  The  monkeys  they  had  killed 
with  flails  and  forks  and  those  caught  alive  they  had 
hanged  and  burned  with  frightful  tortures.  In  the 
opinion   of  Dr.   Taube,   the   most   incomprehensible 


Russian  Bourgeoisie  165 

>  --II  .1    I  I  I        ^  ■        ■_..  ■ ..I  ■       ■■IIIMI  I  II..  < 

thing  about  the  whole  affair  was  that  this  senseless 
frenzy  on  the  part  of  the  peasants  had  been  turned 
against  a  lady  who  as  a  property  owner  had  done 
an  endless  amount  of  good  not  only  for  her  own  peas- 
ants but  also  among  all  the  peasants  throughout  the 
surrounding  country.  In  the  good  old  days  she  had 
been  simply  worshipped  in  that  region. 

As  to  his  own  future,  Dr.  Taube  was  of  course 
much  worried.  Temporarily  he  could  do  nothing  at 
all.  If  he  hadn't  had  several  hundred  thousand  ru- 
bles in  ready  money  laid  away  he  couldn't  have 
existed.  His  bank  account  was  closed.  The  facto- 
ries were  deserted  and  the  drug  business  was  nation- 
alized. He  had  not  set  foot  in  his  store  for  four 
months.  It  was  being  managed  by  his  former  chief 
apothecary,  a  Jew  who  had  been  with  him  for  twenty- 
two  years.  "For  you  can't  get  clever  pharmacists  in 
Russia  who  are  not  Jews.  He'll  never  be  poor," 
added  Dr.  Taube.  "The  stock  is  worth  a  million 
rubles,  peace-time  exchange,  and  he  and  the  ap- 
pointed commissar  are  briskly  selling  it  under- 
hand." 

Dr.  Taube  no  longer  had  much  use  for  the  Entente. 
And  Kerensky  he  called  "the  Revolution's  great  co- 
quette." It  was  now  necessary  for  Russia  to  steer  a 
German  course.  This  was  also  the  opinion  of  the 
cadet  leader,  Miliukof,  who  sat  in  Kiev  with  the  Ger- 
man Hetman,  Skoropadski.  He  wished  that  the 
Germans  as  soon  as  possible  would  also  bring  order 
out  of  chaos  in  Great  Russia.     Wilhelm  II  and  his 


166  The  Red  Garden 

»■'—"-  ..— ■  ■■■—■■■I.— ■  ,,.,,■■■»■■■■  I 

soldiers  would  be  welcomed  as  liberators.  After  all 
was  said  and  done,  there  was  a  real  Kaiser!  And 
the;  Germans,  what  energy,  what  organization!  They 
were  surely  invincible.  And  Russian  culture  and 
Russian  citizenry  had  to  seek  help  from  that  quarter 
unless  they  were  to  go  to  pieces  under  Bolshevism's 
corrupt  and   lawless  Jew  dictatorship. 

Dr.  Taube  was  an  Anti-Semite.  Otherwise  he 
would  not  have  been  Russian  Bourgeois.  The  Jews 
were  responsible  for  all  the  evil  that  was  happening 
in  Russia  and  the  whole  world,  for  this  was  only  the 
beginning.  Back  of  everything,  the  war  and  the  rev- 
olution, there  was  beyond  all  manner  of  doubt  a 
great  international  Jewish  pact  and  gigantic  financial 
conspiracy  for  the  advancement  of  the  world  revolu- 
tion, that  would  at  last  put  all  power  into  the  hands 
of  the  Jews.  If  I  would  keep  it  a  deep  secret  he 
would  tell  me  something:  on  the  second  floor  he  had 
living  a  representative  for  the  American  Y.  M.  C.  A. 
This  man  did  not  have  a  thing  to  do  with  Christianity. 
He  was  in  with  the  Bolsheviki  (and  for  that  reason  it 
was  a  good  thing  to  have  him  in  the  house)  and  he 
was  one  of  the  agents  of  international  Jewdom! — In 
this  Dr.  Taube  was  mistaken.  The  man  was  but  an 
ordinary  member  of  the  American  commercial  spy 
system. 

Later  we  drank  tea,  together  with  the  Doctor's  wife. 
Mrs.  Taube  was,  in  spite  of  having  surely  passed 
forty-five,  still  a  handsome  woman,  particularly  when 
she  smiled.     She  was  clad  in  rustling  silk,  in  her 


Russian  Bourgeoisie  167 

I  II  11  II     !■■■  I  I         I       I  ■  ■■  I  ■    .1  II  1^— ^^^^.^1^       I  ^ 

ears  hung  a  pair  of  rarely  beautiful  pearls  and  on 
her  beautiful  hands,  which  one  longed  to  say  were 
as  white  as  alabaster,  she  had  an  expensive  collec- 
tion of  clear  brilliants  and  brilliants  that  sparkled 
with  a  rosy  gleam  in  their  platinum.  Together 
with  a  black-clad  German  companion  she  occupied  a 
salon  distinguished  among  other  furnishings  by  two 
Bliithner  grand  pianos. 

Mrs.  Taube  was  apparently  unmoved  by  the  serious 
situation.  I  believe  that  it  hadn't  dawned  on  her  at 
all  as  yet.  She  expected  to  wake  up  some  morning 
and  then  everything  would  be  as  in  the  good  old 
days  when  she  still  could  walk  and  drive  on  the 
streets  of  Kazan  and  the  fat  policeman  would  salute 
her  from  afar  as  if  she  were  the  commandant  of  the 
garrison  himself.  Now  there  was  only  the  most 
frightful  rabble  on  the  streets.  She  told  almost  flap- 
per-like yet  winningly  of  her  tribulations  and  the 
constant  refrain  was;  "how  terrible,  how  interesting, 
and  how  amusing!"  While  she  babbled,  Dr.  Taube 
sat  and  looked  preoccupied, — small,  bald  and  pep- 
per-and-salt and  with  a  melancholy  pearl  stick  pin 
in  his  tie. 

I  also  made  the  acquaintance  of  young  Taube, 
twenty-two  years,  their  only  child.  He  bore  a  strik- 
ing resemblance  to  his  mother.  He  was  a  tall,  hand- 
some and  slightly  stout  young  man  with  an  indolent 
personality.  It  was  easy  to  see  that  his  mother  loved 
him  boundlessly.  When  he  was  in  the  room  she  be- 
came uncontrollably  maternal  and  at  once  was  no 


168  The  Red  Garden 

longer  young.  She  still  coddled  the  son  with  jam 
and  cakes  as  well  as  with  pocket  money.  Her  only 
fear  was  that  something  should  happen  to  him.  He 
had  not  been  in  the  war,  no  doubt  he  had  been  ex- 
empted because  of  his  medical  studies.  But  even  if 
there  were  comparative  peace  and  quiet  at  present, 
the  red  day  of  civil  war  rose  each  minute  more 
threatening  on  the  horizon.  They  were  already  fight- 
ing in  the  nearest  governments.  In  Jaroslav  there 
had  been  revolt  and  White  Terror  and  Red  Terror. 
To  keep  her  son  out  of  all  these  bloody  upheavals 
was  Mrs.  Taube's  only  and  sole  thought. 

A  few  weeks  later  the  counter-revolution  reached 
Kazan  as  suddenly  as  the  first  bolt  of  lightning  from 
a  black  sky.  Monday,  August  5th,  the  Czechs  took 
the  city  by  surprise  and  in  the  course  of  a  few  hours 
large  parts  of  it  were  in  their  hands.  An  enormous 
amount  of  booty  was  captured,  both  materials  of  war 
and  600  million  rubles  of  Russian  and  Rumanian 
money.  A  White  revolutionary  organization  was 
hastily  formed  and  crowds  of  volunteers.  White 
Guards  and  former  officers,  suddenly  filled  Kazan 
with  their  unchanged  careless  youth  and  arrogance. 
They  were  from  the  very  outset  smartly  decked  out 
once  more  with  epaulets  and  medals  and  if  possible 
with  white  adjutant  insignias.  They  were  also  to  be 
seen  at  the  cafes,  with  heavy  revolver  holsters  and 
patent  leather  boots,  joyous  from  victory,  rattling 
their  sabres  and  not  always  wholly  sober.  In  the 
streets  one  group  after  another  of  captured  Bolshe- 


Russian  Bourgeoisie  169 

viki  passed  by,  of  greyish  pallor  and  walking  dully 
between  guards  who  in  their  hands  bore  threatening 
rifles  and  grenades.  They  were  brought  up  to  the 
old  Kremlin  where  they  were  permitted  to  dig  them- 
selves a  common  grave  before  they,  generally  at 
dawn,  were  shot.  Of  all  the  sights  that  send  cold 
chills  of  fear  and  trembling  along  a  man's  spine, 
none  is  more  chilling  than  that  of  our  neighbour  on 
the  way  to  his  place  of  execution.  In  the  hotel  cel- 
lars still  other  Bolsheviki  lurked,  hiding  their  weap- 
ons and  tearing  their  red  flags  into  Red  Cross  arm- 
bands. The  guests  who  fled  down  there  when  the 
Red  aeroplanes  came  and  bombed  the  city,  turned 
timorously  back  from  the  deathly  pale  people  who, 
by  the  gleam  of  a  few  candles,  rooted  in  the  corners 
and  stowed  large  and  heavy  Belgian  pistols  and  am- 
munition away,  while  they  drove  off'  fear  by  tippling. 
Before  the  gates  of  the  Kremlin  lay  for  four  days 
the  body  of  a  Lett,  who  just  as  the  famous  actor  bore 
the  name  of  Kean,  but  probably  had  spelled  it  dif- 
ferently. The  women  shouldered  each  other  to  lift 
the  cloth  from  his  face.  His  boots  had  been  pulled 
off"  and  the  naked  feet  grew  day  by  day  more  yellow 
until  they  at  last  began  to  be  blue.  A  note  had  been 
put  on  the  corpse  upon  which  there  stood  laconically: 
Kommandant  goroda:  i.  e.,  the  City  Commandant! 
The  rain  had  made  the  ink  run.  I  had  known  him 
well  and  while  not  exactly  a  model  official,  he  had 
been  an  obliging  and  courageous  fellow  who  had 
done*  no  more  harm  in  his  position  than  he  had  found 


170  The  Red  Garden 

'     '■      "     -  ■ -    ■■■    I      I        I       I    ■■  ■  i  ■  ■■■■■■  I  nil  »  ^^^—  l»  III        ^ 

strictly  necessary.  Every  afternoon  he  had  driven 
around  the  city  in  a  smartly  drawn  carriage,  lean- 
ing comfortably  back  in  a  corner  with  one  leg  over 
the  other  and  a  short  briar  pipe  between  his  teeth. 
He  was  never  without  it  and  in  Russia  it  contributed 
to  giving  him  a  foreign  and  therefore  cultivated  air. 

After  the  first  days  of  street  fighting  and  excite- 
ment and  shooting  on  the  river  and  from  the  air, 
came  the  turn  of  the  clerical  processions.  At  the 
head  was  the  famous  Virgin  of  Kazan  and  they  had 
dragged  the  holy  banners  and  the  golden  ikons  out  of 
all  the  churches  and  wandered  with  choir  boys  and 
censors,  Metropolitan  and  priests  in  golden  cloaks 
and  violet  caps  around  in  all  the  streets  but  not  in 
the  Tartar  quarter,  followed  by  immense  crowds  of 
people  with  white  brassards  on  their  arms.  Tlien 
came  the  funerals  of  the  Czecho-Slovaks  who  had 
fallen,  officers  and  White  Guards.  Sad  funeral 
marches  on  wind  instruments,  many  many  open  cof- 
fins whose  lids  were  carried  before  the  wagons  by 
undertakers  in  white  blouses,  and  again  priests,  mili- 
tary and  people  in  dense  crowds.  And  incessantly 
the  dull  firing  from  afar.  The  Czechs  and  the  volun- 
teers were  fighting  with  the  Bolsheviki  for  the  posses- 
sion of  the  Romanoff"  Bridge  a  little  west  of  the  city. 
But  they  did  not  cross. 

What  I  myself  experienced  the  following  three  or 
four  months  would  take  too  long  to  relate  and  has 
no  place  here.  The  Bolsheviki  reconquered  Kazan. 
At  that  time  I  was  already  in  Siberia.     And  to  Si- 


Russian  Bourgeoisie  171 

beria  fled  also  Dr.  Taube  with  his  family.  Whether 
they  sensed  the  danger  in  time  or  felt  themselves  in- 
secure in  any  case  in  Kazan  because  of  their  little 
affair  with  the  German  Commission,  I  know  not. 
The  fact  remained,  they  went  to  Samara  and  when 
the  Volga  front  had  to  be  abandoned  they  flowed  with 
the  stream  of  refugees  to  the  Siberian  cities.  In  the 
early  part  of  1919  they  popped  up  in  Tomsk  where 
I  was  vice  consul. 

I  met  Dr.  Taube  on  the  street  and  this  time  was 
not  surprised.  Nothing  was  strange  any  more  and 
the  world  was  no  longer  as  large  as  it  had  been.  Dr. 
Taube  told  me  that  they  had  left  their  home  as  it  had 
been  when  I  was  there,  and  only  provided  with  the 
necessary  clothes  and  a  sum  of  cash  money.  The 
companion  had  remained  behind.  She  had  dia- 
monds from  Mrs.  Taube's  diadems  and  collars  sewed 
away  in  her  black  gown. 

I  was  going  to  pay  them  a  visit  but  changed  my 
mind.  They  lived,  I  knew,  in  extremely  straight- 
ened circumstances  with  one  of  the  city's  druggists. 
I  was  afraid  that  the  severe  change  from  the  sur- 
roundings in  which  Mrs.  Taube  had  last  received  me, 
would  be  painful  for  her.  However  I  was  mistaken. 
The  truth  generally  is  that  the  very  rich  who  have 
known  and  owned  all  of  life's  visible  pleasures,  find 
it  much  easier  to  go  without  things  than  those  who 
haven't  had  the  daily  necessaries,  and  if  what  I've 
heard  isn't  true,  then  it  ought  to  be:  that  here  in  the 
city  during  the  war  a  woman  died  of  grief  because 


172  The  Red  Garden 


she  couldn't  get  coffee!  Mrs.  Taube  bore  her  pov- 
erty and  the  Siberian  cold  good  naturedly.  She  was 
rarely  seen  on  the  streets,  but  one  day  I  met  her. 
She  wore  a  sable  fur  coat  and  had  a  woollen  shawl 
around  her  head  like  a  peasant  woman.  The  smile 
in  her  eyes  still  contained  the  same  charming  silli- 
ness and  she  was  of  the  opinion  that  it  would  not  be 
long  before  they  again  were  back  in  Kazan. 

But  nevertheless  Dr.  Taube  had  his  troubles  with 
her.     That  I  gathered  from  his  conversation  when  I 
met  him  in  street  or  cafe.     She  was  afraid  that  her 
son  would  be  mobilized  and  when  that  fear  came  over 
her  she  became  quite  hysterical.     At  last  Dr.  Taube 
by  much  energy  and  influential  acquaintances  suc- 
ceeded in  postponing  the  catastrophe  and  had  their 
son  placed  in  a  sinecure  position  in  the  Red  Cross  ad- 
ministration.    But  how  long  would  that  last?     He 
himself  had  been  mobilized  and  could  expect  to  be 
sent  to  the  front  as  a  military  physician.     The  Kol- 
chak  Government  sent  out  one  decree  after  another 
which  promised  the  most  severe  measures,  summary 
court-martial,  against  those  officers  and  doctors  who 
occupied  secure  and  superflous  positions  back  of  the 
front.     And  the  front  suffered  frightfully  from  lack 
of  doctors.     The  hospital  trains  came  all  the  way  to 
Tomsk,  many  days'  ride,  jammed  full  of  wounded, 
nearly  all  young  peasant  boys,   ridiculously  young 
because  those  in  power  had  not  dared  to  mobilize 
the   older   men   who   once  had   helped   to   tear   the 
shoulder  straps  off  their  officers  and  disarm  them. 


Russian  Bourgeoisie  173 


And  before  they  reached  their  destination,  the  se- 
verely wounded  had  been  changed  into  stinking  bun- 
dles of  filth  and  gangrene,  vermin  and  pus,  often- 
times swarming  with  maggots.  My  splendid  friend. 
Dr.  Belan,  an  Austrian  regimental  surgeon  who  di- 
rected one  of  the  Russian  military  hospitals  and  who 
cut  away  with  saw  and  knife  of  what  there  came, 
often  assured  me  quite  overcome  that  only  Russians 
could  live  in  the  state  of  putrefaction  in  which  he  re- 
ceived them  on  the  operating  table.  So  bad  was  it 
that  in  some  cases  their  bandages  were  of  news- 
papers! "And  the  place  is  overrun  with  Sisters 
enough,    too,"    he   added,    "and   disreputable   every 


one! 


I  often  saw  young  Taube  on  the  street  but  he  ap- 
parently didn't  care  very  much  about  knowing  me. 
He  was  in  uniform  of  course,  though  without  marks 
of  rank  or  revolver.  On  his  arm  was  the  Red  Cross 
brassard.  He  was  often — on  foot  or  in  sleigh — in 
the  company  of  a  not  quite  young  but  wonderfully 
beautiful  nurse  whose  velvet  black  eyes  glinted  dan- 
gerously under  the  coquettishly  demure  nun's  head- 
dress. One  day  about  2  o'clock  when  we  were  al- 
ready in  the  first  part  of  June,  Dr.  Belan  came  unex- 
pectedly to  me.  He  brought  me  the  terrible  news 
that  young  Taube  had  been  shot  by  a  Russian  during 
a  brawl.  The  unfortunate  man  had  received  a  bul- 
let in  the  thigh,  one  in  the  stomach  and  one  in  the 
face.  The  other  had  wounded  himself  in  the  shoul- 
der.    They  had  both  been  brought  into  Belan's  hos- 


174  The  Red  Garden 


pital  but  on  the  operating  table  Taube  had  breathed 
his  last.  Dr.  Belan,  who  knew  the  Taubes,  was  as 
depressed  by  the  occurrence  as  it  is  possible  to  be 
when  one  has  a  wife  and  two  children  in  far-off 
Vienna  and  has  spent  five  years  of  war  imprisonment 
in  Siberia.  He  paced  back  and  forth  across  the  of- 
fice floor.  Suddenly  he  gritted  his  teeth  loudly  and 
hissed:  "The  scoundrels!  The  hellish  scoundrels! 
They  know  how  to  mobilize  the  innocent,  ignorant 
cattle  from  the  villages.  They  take  them  from  their 
mothers  before  they  have  barely  left  the  breast,  drive 
them  to  the  front  before  they  can  use  a  rifle  and  let 
them  fight  for  those  who  sent  them  and  for  the  holy 
reinstatment  of  Tsarism  and  dissolute  priest  dicta- 
torship and  for  the  bank  account,  the  knout,  vodka 
and  corruption.  The  scoundrels  know  how  to  do  all 
that  and  dare  to  do  it.  Then  they  sit  back  of  the 
front  with  bottles  and  cards  and  an  arm  around  the 
waist  of  a  girl  and  this  is  something  they  have  to  do 
even  if  they  are  to  die  for  it,  and  so  rather  die  for  a 
common  wench  than  for  the  poor  fellows  who  for 
their  sake  are  rotting  from  wounds  and  typhus  a 
thousand  miles  from  their  mother's  village.  They 
are  not  worth  the  death  of  a  louse  and  here  a  whole 
land  and  a  continent  and  a  half  is  wading  in  blood  be- 
cause a  handful  of  charlatans  on  each  side  dare  to 
misuse  their  power.  And  they  go  unpunished.  If 
God  cannot  and  he  evidently  can't,  would  that  Satan 
himself  would  perceive  that  this  is  not  even  wicked- 
ness but  only  pure  raw  stupidity  and  let  plague  strike 


Russian  Bourgeoisie  175 

I  — — ' 

all  who  in  this  land  force  people  who  are  no  wiser 
than  cattle  and  no  more  full  of  hate  to  bear  weap- 
ons against  one  another!"  Dr.  Belan  had  become 
pale  and  at  the  close  quite  hoarse.  He  was  other- 
wise a  quiet  man  who  talked  very  little  and  then  in 
short  choppy  sentences.  He  sat  down  and  for  a  long 
time  remained  quite  still  and  then  left  me  with  a 
nod  of  farewell. 

There  were  only  a  few  people  at  the  funeral. 
Mrs.  Taube  stood  close  by  the  coffin.  Her  husband 
supported  her.  Her  cheeks  were  completely  swollen 
but  she  wept  no  more.  She  would  never  be  young 
again!  The  doctor  had  become  smaller,  it  seemed  to 
me,  and  quite  white  at  the  temples.  But  there  was 
on  the  other  hand  a  peace  in  his  face  that  I  had  not 
seen  there  the  last  time  I  talked  with  him.  Per- 
haps his  grief  after  all  could  not  outweigh  that 
burden  of  which  he  had  been  relieved  in  so  frightful 
a  manner. 

After  the  burial  I  spoke  to  them.  Dr.  Taube  was 
preoccupied  and  neither  could  I  find  anything  to  say 
to  him.  To  Mrs.  Taube  I  bowed  and  as  is  the  cus- 
tom in  Russia  kissed  her  white  hand  that  even  now 
with  its  very  few  rings  was  more  beautiful  than  any 
hand  I  have  seen. 

A  short  time  after  I  left  Tomsk. 


Alexander  and  Ivan 

IN  Tomsk  I  had  a  prisoner  of  war  as  coachman. 
According  to  his  papers  he  was  a  Rumanian, 
Sandor  Barkas  by  name,  and  hailing  from  some 
hamlet  in  Hungary.  He  was  thrown  in  when  I 
bought  a  carriage,  a  sleigh  and  a  black  trotter  from 
a  Dano-Russian  in  whose  service  he  had  always  been 
known  as  Alexander,  and  Alexander  he  continued  to 
be  with  me.' 

Alexander  was  faithful  and  good  and  a  simpleton 
who  just  grasped  the  fact  that  it  was  not  to  his  ad- 
vantage to  appear  less  obtuse  than  he  really  was. 
Beyond  taking  care  of  the  horse,  hitching,  unhitch- 
ing, and  driving,  he  understood  nothing,  nor  did 
that  perturb  him.  Once  when  he  had  been  sent  off 
with  a  telegram  he  was  arrested  before  he  had 
pierced  the  mysteries  of  sending  it,  because  of  his 
passive  but  lengthy  scrutiny  of  life  about  the  tele- 
graph station.  I  had  the  greatest  trouble  getting  him 
released.  Since  then  he  was  allowed  to  stay  at  home 
when  he  wasn't  driving.  Even  there  he  might  have 
been  useful,  he  might  have  scrubbed  the  floor,  tended 
the  samovar  or  things  like  that,  but  this  was  women's 
work  which  was  far  below  his  dignity.  He  didn't  re- 
fuse flatly,  but  it  was  something  he  wasn't  accus- 
tomed to  do,  he  assured  me  in  one  of  the  few  Russian 
phrases  he  had  learned  because  of  their  indispensa- 

176 


Alexander  and  Ivan  177 

^1  — I  .  ■■    ■■  I  ■!■    Ill  ■     I       I    11    ■!  11      I  II  II  III  ■    ■  — ^^M^M^——  ^^— J^ 

bility  and  usefulness  during  his  four  years  of  war 
imprisonment.  To  all  remonstrances  he  only  smiled 
and  shook  his  head,  not  at  all  defiantly,  but  engag- 
ingly and  indolently.  It  wasn't  possible  to  pronounce 
the  Russian  language  clearly  enough  or  well  enough 
for  his  ears.  He  spoke  Rumanian  if  I  wished  any- 
thing besides  "hitch"  and  "unhitch,"  "to  the  left" 
or  "to  the  right."  Roughness  towards  him  only 
brought  black  looks  of  anger  or  tears  that  filled  his 
brown  eyes,  making  them  shine  like  red  mahogany, 
and  he  let  it  be  understood  that  rather  than  endure 
being  treated  in  an  undignified  manner  he  would  let 
himself  be  separated  from  the  horse  and  sent  back 
to  camp.  But  I  didn't  want  to  part  with  Alexander. 
For  how  was  I  to  find  among  the  six  thousand  prison- 
ers of  war  in  the  camp  one  who  would  be  better 
and  not  many  times  worse  than  he?  And  although 
the  horse  was  a  handsome  animal  to  look  at,  wasn't 
it  full  of  hidden  faults  which  only  Alexander  knew 
and  could  take  into  consideration? 

When  I  think  of  Alexander  I  usually  see  him  sit- 
ting on  his  favourite  stool  in  the  kitchen  with  an 
empty  dish  before  him.  With  a  correct  appraise- 
ment of  what  sort  of  master  I  was,  he  had  long  ago 
ceased  to  rise  when  my  path  lay  through  the  kitchen, 
which  it  often  did  to  spare  him  the  trouble  of  the 
main  entrance  with  its  double  doors  and  four  bolts. 
From  his  place  he  caressed  with  a  glance,  though  com- 
pletely phlegmatically,  the  Russian  girls  who,  in 
skirts  amply  tucked  up  and  always  good-naturedly. 


178  The  Red  Garden 

scrubbed,  washed,  cooked  and  split  wood  around 
him,  and  who  besides  that,  as  a  pure  matter  of  course, 
looked  after  his  well-being,  handed  him  full  dishes, 
took  away  empty  ones,  swept  under  him  and  fished 
coal  out  of  the  oven  for  his  pipe. 

All  night  from  nine  to  nine,  and  if  the  chance  of- 
fered itself  also  a  couple  of  hours  in  the  afternoon, 
Alexander  spent  back  of  the  oven  on  his  pallet  where 
he  shared  sleeping  quarters  with  Drusjok,  the  dog, 
and  Koschka,  the  cat.  The  back  of  that  oven, 
when  fully  occupied,  was  an  awe-inspiring  zoological 
locality.  Its  tufts  of  hay  and  nondescript  rags 
Alexander,  deaf  to  every  admonition,  always  left  in 
the  same  picturesque  disorder  in  which  they  had  been 
when  he  last  crawled  into  them. 

Despite  the  golden  days  which  Alexander  might 
have  been  said  to  have  with  me,  both  from  the  stand- 
point of  war  imprisonment  and  the  general  condi- 
tion of  Russian  servants,  he  was  neither  grateful  nor 
satisfied.  This  is,  after  all,  as  I  have  only  too  often 
discovered,  the  wages  of  goodness  and  naivete.  A 
Barin  who  is  not  brutal  and,  to  a  certain  degree, 
callous,  disappoints  those  expectations  one  has  a 
right  to  have  about  him.  Furthermore  Alexander 
had  hardly  been  in  the  camp  at  all  during  his  im- 
prisonment, but  had  worked  for  private  individuals 
outside  it,  so  that  undoubtedly  the  idea  of  an  exist- 
ence behind  the  barbed  wire,  freed  from  all  annoy- 
ances and  duties  and  entirely  wedded  to  sweet  inac- 
tivity,  appealed   strongly  to   his   imagination.     But 


Alexander  and  Ivan  179 

there  were  always  the  risks  of  being  set  to  shoveling 
snow,  or  burying  dead,  yes  even  of  being  sent  to  work 
in  the  coal  mines  or  of  being  dealt  out  to  one  of  the 
many  horse  transports  that  ran  up  and  down  the  Line, 
from  Tjellabinsk  to  Irkutsk  and  back  again.  They 
were  left  to  shift  for  themselves  for  long  weeks  and 
exposed  to  a  devilish  cold  when  thq  cars  were  empty, 
a  cold  that  froze  the  fingers  and  toes  oif  the  unfor- 
tunate prisoners.  If  it  hadn't  been  for  this,  then 
the  dream  of  the  real  idyllic  loafer's  life  had  surely 
coaxed  Alexander  into  the  camp  long  ago. 

It  would,  however,  have  been  an  over-estimate  of 
Alexander's  faculties  to  believe  that  it  was  the  fear 
of  the  dangers  of  camp  life  which  alone  held  him 
back.  But  Alexander  had  a  friend,  a  prisoner  and  a 
Rumanian  himself,  even  from  the  same  village,  and 
without  the  advice  and  consent  of  this  considerably 
older  associate  it  did  not  occur  to  Alexander  to  at- 
tempt anything.  Ivan — for  that  was  the  name  of 
Alexander's  friend  in  his  Russian  existence — was  Al- 
exander's one  fixed  point  in  the  quicksands  of  war  im- 
prisoment,  the  only  palpaple  thing,  therefore  the 
strongest  tie  which  bound  him  to  life  in  the  past  and 
to  the  village  at  the  foot  of  the  Carpathians,  and  the 
only  person  with  whom  he  could  really  converse. 
To  Ivan,  Alexander  was  a  child  from  home,  needing 
his  advice  and  care,  both  in  daily  life  where  all 
kinds  of  accidents  and  mistakes  lay  in  wait  for  a  de- 
fenceless prisoner  of  war,  but  more  particularly  when 
that  day  in  the  fullness  of  time  should  come  when 


180  The  Red  Garden 

they  were  to  go  back.  For  who  could  ever  think 
that  Alexander  would  have  either  initiative  or  under- 
standing enough  to  find  his  way  home  alone!  And, 
finally,  Ivan  had  in  Alexander  a  companionable  refuge 
which  he  would  not  willingly  relinquish.  Therefore 
he  watched  over  him  and  advised  him  against  going 
to  tlie  prison  camp,  at  any  rate  as  long  as  he,  Ivan, 
had  not  been  put  there. 

Ivan  and  Alexander  had  had  the  marvellous  luck 
of  being  captured  only  eight  days  after  the  outbreak 
of  the  war  when  as  Hungarian  Hussars  they  rode  pa- 
trol across  the  Russian  border.  Even  at  that  time 
Ivan  had  shown  talents  which  had  quite  won  the  heart 
and  admiration  of  the  dull-witted  Alexander.  Dur- 
ing their  imprisonment  they  had  become  separated, 
but  by  a  miracle  they  had  met  each  other  again  in 
Tomsk. 

As  foolishly  stupid  as  Alexander  was,  so  happily 
endowed  was  Ivan.  He  always  came  out  on  top.  No 
prison,  no  fence  could  hold  him.  Not  that  he  ever 
fled;  anything  so  simple  as  that  would  really  not  have 
been  worthy  of  admiration.  He  obtained  his  release 
by  his  personality.  If  he  were  caught  now  and  then 
and  put  in  camp,  he  didn't  get  downhearted,  but 
smiled  unweariedly  at  the  Russians  with  his  snow- 
white  teeth  as  if  he  never  had  been  any  happier. 
Even  the  sternest  of  prison  guards  couldn't  resist  the 
temptation  to  talk  with  him,  and  his  frank  manner 
and  entertaining  qualities  also  won  entry  for  him  in 
higher  places.     In  the  course  of  several  days  he  was 


Alexander  and  Ivan  181 

always  free  again  and  had  hold  of  the  better  end  of 
some  fat  job. 

From  his  appearance  one  would  not  easily  have 
deemed  Ivan  the  possessor  of  any  ability  whatsoever, 
and  especially  not  the  ability  to  respond  charmingly. 
He  didn't  at  all  resemble  the  handsome,  slightly  stout 
Alexander  who,  for  the  sake  of  the  women  if  for 
nothing  else,  kept  himself  looking  tidy  in  my  cast- 
off  clothes.  Ivan  was  hideous,  a  tramp  without  as 
within.  You  could  have  put  anything  at  all  on  him, 
and  he  would  still  have  looked  what  he  was,  a  dirty 
Balkanese  of  doubtful  Romanic  extraction  but  with  a 
Hunnish,  squash  nose,  a  gleam  of  violated  Jewdom  in 
his  eyes  and  a  thick  stream  of  real  Gipsy  blood  vaga- 
bonding under  his  yellow  skin. 

Ivan's  secret,  the  definition  of  his  lucky  star  during 
his  Russian  imprisonment,  was  not  to  be  found  in 
anything  external,  but  could  only  be  discovered  on 
closer  acquaintance.  Ivan  was  a  drunkard.  This 
much  one  could  see  at  once  from  his  sodden  buffoon 
face,  reddish  purple  even  to  his  ears  under  the  jet- 
black  shaggy  hair.  But  what  one  couldn't  see  was 
the  almost  magical  relationship  that  existed  between 
him  and  alcohol.  Where  Ivan  was,  there  was  also 
liquor.  As  a  willow  wand  is  said  to  point  to  water, 
so  Ivan  pointed  to  pure  alcohol.  What  more  pre- 
cious endowment  could  there  be  for  self-preservation 
in  war-ravaged  Russia  where  the  springs  of  alcohol 
were  either  plugged  or  only  ran  expensively  and  spar- 
ingly.    Though   a  wretched   prisoner  of  war,   Ivan 


182  The  Red  Garden 


could  move  from  place  to  place  free  as  a  bird,  every- 
where sure  to  create  and  meet  sympathy,  conquering 
all,  whether  they  were  Red  or  White,  officers,  commis- 
sars, city  dwellers  or  peasants,  priests  or  heathen,  by 
his  spiritual  good  nature  and  the  Dionysian  gracious- 
ness  which  streamed  from  him  and  surrounded  his 
person  with  an  aura  of  more  than  rank  odour,  fa- 
tally attractive  to  even  the  weakest  Russian  sprout  of 
the  vice  of  drunkenness. 

One  would  think  that  Ivan's  passion  for  drink 
would  have  been  contagious  to  a  character  as  weak 
and  as  poorly  endowed  as  Alexander's.  But  such 
was  not  the  case,  perhaps  because  Ivan's  exterior 
served  as  a  horrible  example,  and  perhaps  because 
Ivan's  tactics  with  Alexander  were  the  very  opposite 
of  those  he  used  with  the  Russians.  One  might  sup- 
pose that  he  considered  it  his  mission,  while  attend- 
ing to  his  own  requirements,  to  fill  the  Russians  full 
of  the  greatest  possible  quantity  of  liquor  and  in  this 
way  repay  his  early  capture  by  an  offensive  which 
often  caused  the  Russians  larger  losses  than  whole 
Austrian  battalions.  But  he  watched  keenly  that  the 
fiend  of  drunkenness  didn't  enter  into  Alexander, 
and  gave  him  not  a  single  drop  of  the  strong  fluids 
which  Alexander  was  far  too  simple  to  secure  for 
himself. 

Ivan's  path  of  life  in  Russia  had,  as  may  be  imag- 
ined, led  through  the  most  variegated  professions  and 
the  most  fantastic  occupations,  which,  however,  were 
always   entwined   with   the   real   red   thread   of   his 


Alexander  and  Ivan  183 

existence.  For  instance,  just  to  mention  something 
which  I  could  corroborate  on  the  spot,  he  had  come  to 
the  city  with  steamer  via  Tobolsk  from  Omsk  in  the 
service  of  the  representative  of  a  Caucasian  wine 
company  that  had  a  branch  in  Tomsk.  With  him  he 
stayed  until  the  wares  were  sold  and  the  store  closed. 
Then  he  had  secured  a  place  as  prisoner  of  all  work 
in  the  local  branch  of  the  Russian  Red  Cross  whose 
most  important,  and  as  far  as  I  could  see,  only  prob- 
lem for  a  long  time  was  to  apportion  and  grant  re- 
quisitions for  wines  and  spirits  on  the  former  public 
stores  to  foreign  consuls,  officials  and  officers  in  the 
service  of  the  Kolchak  government  and  favoured  pri- 
vate individuals  with  certificates  of  weak  health. 
When  this  opportunity  failed,  because  the  command- 
ant of  the  garrison  took  over  this  lucrative  duty,  Ivan 
got  a  place  as  kitchen  man  in  the  Officers'  Club.  But 
from  washing  glasses  and  dishes,  he  quickly  ad- 
vanced to  being  the  right  hand  man  of  the  host  by 
procuring  spirits  and  vodka  from  secret  private  sup- 
plies, and  he  was  soon  the  glad  favourite  of  the 
guests.  With  his  wit,  his  festive  face,  and  the  bandy 
walk  of  his  thin  drunkard's  Hussar  legs,  he  had  only 
to  show  himself  to  make  loud  laughter  resound  at 
the  crowded  much  bespattered  card  tables.  This  job 
Ivan  lost  when  scandals  and  the  need  for  barracks 
caused  the  Officers'  Club  to  be  suddenly  forbidden 
and  disbanded. 

One  evening  after  the  catastrophe,  as  he  sat  with 
Alexander  in  the  kitchen  by  the  oven,  on  top  of  which 


184  The  Red  Garden 

»  — — _— _^____ 

he  had  spent  the  last  nights  after  politely  secured 
permission,  I  took  the  opportunity  to  talk  with 
him. 

After  he  had  thanked  me  warmly  for  the  kindness 
he  had  enjoyed  in  the  house,  and  had  praised  Alexan- 
der both  as  a  friend  and  as  absolutely  irreplaceable 
in  everything  pertaining  to  horses,  had,  altogether, 
given  the  seated  and  indifferent  Alexander  an  elo- 
quent course  in  politeness  and  good  policy,  he  told 
me  that  he  had  secured  a  place  as  hired  man  for  a 
pope  or  priest  and  as  zwonik — bell  ringer — at  one  of 
the  larger  churches  of  the  city.  In  all  likelihood  he 
would  only  have  to  avail  himself  of  my  hospitality 
this  one  night  more. 

However,  Ivan's  optimism  showed  itself  to  be  un- 
warranted in  this  instance.  During  the  execution  of 
his  new  duties  he  was  overtaken  by  his  fate.  Pre- 
sumably he  had  had  more  important  things  to  do  for 
the  pope,  and  had  not  taken  the  necessary  precaution 
of  acquainting  himself  with  the  technicalities  of  the 
art  of  bell-ringing.  Moreover,  he  was  unused  to 
working  so  high  in  the  air,  and  poorly  suited  for  it. 
That  must  have  been  why  he  came  to  spoil  Easter 
Monday  for  a  large  congregation.  The  bells  sud- 
denly ceased  to  sound,  and  the  faithful  wakened  from 
their  stupor  and  began  to  wonder  what  could  have 
happened.  When  the  matter  was  investigated,  Ivan 
was  found  lying  in  the  belfry.  By  a  false  swing  one 
of  the  bells  had  struck  him  in  the  head.  On  the 
papers    humane    initiative,    the    stricken    man    was 


Alexander  and  Ivan  185 

»  —  I 

brought  to  the  Consulate.  When  Alexander  saw 
them  carrying  Ivan,  he  grew  chalky  white  and  began 
to  tremble  and  shake.  I  had  the  horse  hitched  up, 
and  we  galloped  away  for  the  Austrian  hospital  sur- 
geon at  the  camp,  but  when  he  had  examined  Ivan's 
wound  he  merely  shook  his  head  and  wondered  that 
such  a  fellow  could  have  permitted  himself  to  be- 
come so  amply  alcoholized,  when  the  Russians  could 
not  even  see  their  way  to  procure  enough  alcohol 
for  the  hospital  dispensary.  Ivan  had  only  a  very 
little  hole  in  his  head,  but,  without  regaining  con- 
sciousness, his  clear  and  merry  spirit  in  the  course  of 
several  hours  trickled  out  of  it  into  the  enigmatical 
nothingness  of  space. 

Some  days  after  the  burial,  Alexander  asked  if  he 
might  go  to  the  bath.  This  permission  he  got  and 
also  the  extra  couple  of  rubles  which  it  would  cost. 
He  never  came  back.  The  next  morning  his  place 
in  the  kitchen  was  empty,  and  the  dog  and  the  cat 
who  huddled  shivering  in  each  comer  of  the  bed  sent 
great  melancholy  glances  toward  the  door.  The 
rags  had  disappeared  and  Alexander's  little  green 
wooden  chest,  his  nicked  stump  of  mirror,  his  comb 
and  pipe  and  the  three  postcards  that  had  been  nailed 
up  on  the  wall,  all  representing  Alexander  in  his  Hus- 
sar uniform,  were  gone  too.  It  was  quickly  discov- 
ered that  he  had  reported  to  the  camp.  After  the 
usual  eight  days  of  solitary  arrest,  allotted  to  pris- 
oners who  couldn't  or  wouldn't  account  for  where 
they  had  been  and  with  what  permission,   he  had 


186  The  Red  Garden 

moved  into  the  several  square  yards  of  regulation 
wooden  berth  which  was  due  him  in  the  barracks. 
Although  Alexander  was  far  from  having  conducted 
himself  as  he  should,  I  respected  his  decision  which 
only  sorrow  and  perplexity  at  Ivan's  death  had  made 
him  take.  Neither  did  I  consider  it  possible  in  the 
long  run  to  defend  him  against  his  own  fatuousness 
without  Ivan's  influence. 

Here  my  record  of  Ivan  £nd  Alexander  would  have 
ceased,  had  I  not  three  or  four  months  after  these 
events  found  it  necessary  to  go  to  Kalscheigin,  a  good 
day's  journey  away  from  Tomsk.  A  Bolshevik 
scouting  party  had  attacked  the  coal  mines  there  by 
surprise,  and  for  a  period  of  twenty-four  hours  had 
taken  possession  of  them.  They  had  given  short 
shrift  to  the  higher  officials  together  with  those  Cos- 
sacks and  Czechs  of  the  guarding  party  whom  they 
succeeded  in  capturing,  but  unfortunately  they  didn't 
get  the  worst  extortionists  and  torturers  in  the  mine 
management,  who,  as  usual,  escaped  the  just  punish- 
ment of  their  inhuman  brutality  and  robbery  of  the 
labouring  prisoners  of  war.  Only  a  very  few  of  tlie 
prisoners  had  joined  the  band  and  gone  off  with 
them.  The  majority  had  turned  a  deaf  ear  to  all 
the  agitation  and  had  declared  through  their  spokes- 
man that  although  the  sympathy  of  the  prisoners  was 
certainly  on  the  side  of  the  Bolsheviki,  the  cost  of 
joining  them  had  been  learned  through  all  too  terri- 
ble experience.  Wherefore  they  only  wished  to  be 
left  in  peace,  and  otherwise  to  be  allowed  to  go  home 


Alexander  and  Ivan  187 

again  now  that  the  war,  by  the  grace  of  God,  was 
over  in  Europe.  This  answer  the  Bolsheviki  ac- 
cepted, though  reluctantly,  and  then  retired  to  the 
open  country  and  to  the  Taiga,  the  wild  Siberian, 
primeval  forest  where  White  reprisals  did  not  dare  to 
follow  them. 

No  sooner  were  they  gone  than  the  White  relief 
body  made  its  appearance,  struck  down  among  the 
prisoners,  swung  the  nagaika,  held  inquisitions  and 
summary  courts,  and,  although  it  was  well  known  that 
those  who  had  helped  to  murder  the  officials  had  fled 
with  the  Bolsheviki,  yet  for  the  sake  of  an  example 
four  or  five  men,  thought  to  have  Bolshevik  sym- 
pathies, were  condemned  to  death  and  shot  on  the 
spot  after  having  dug  their  own  graves. 

It  was  the  rumour  of  these  events  which  called  me  to 
Kalscheigin  in  the  company  of  a  French;  officer  whom 
I  desired  to  convince  of  the  ill  treatment  and  under- 
nourishment to  which  the  prisoners  of  war  were  con- 
stantly subjected  in  these  notorious  mines.  We  had 
finished  our  visit  to  the  mine  manager  and  the  com- 
missariat manager,  two  mealy-mouthed  scoundrels 
whom  it  would  have  been  a  cold-blooded  pleasure  to 
place  before  a  row  of  rifle  barrels.  Under  the  guid- 
ance of  the  Cossack  Commandant  we  had  come  to 
the  damp,  earthy  hovels  where  the  prisoners  had 
their  quarters,  when,  at  the  very  entrance,  a  ragged 
figure,  shy  and  round-shouldered,  wormed  himself 
out  of  our  path.  I  was  quite  moved  at  recognizing 
Alexander.     Of  his  red  cheeks  and  clear  skin,  there 


188  The  Red  Garden 

I      — I 

was  nothing  left.  His  eyes  glowed  with  a  feverish 
expression  in  the  middle  of  his  pale,  stubbled  face. 
I  confess  it  was  with  a  curious  terror  I  recognized  in 
the  terrible  rags  hanging  on  his  once  well  nourished 
body,  garments  which  had  formerly  clothed  me. 
For  this  reason  only,  tears  were  near  my  eyes,  al- 
though I  also  felt  a  real  sorrow  that  poor  Alexander 
had  ended  in  this  horrible  prison  hell.  But  all  I 
could  do  was  to  surprise  the  Frenchman  and  the  Cos- 
sack by  shaking  Alexander's  hand,  and  talking  to 
him  as  to  a  little  child.  He  knew  me,  but  I  could 
see  that  I  was  almost  an  entire  stranger  to  him.  He 
tried  to  smile  and  to  show  that  he  had  good  courage, 
but  it  wasn't  much  of  a  success.  Then  he  asked  if 
the  horse  was  along,  and  when  he  was  answered  in 
the  negative,  he  became  dull  to  all  questions  and 
seemed  to  feel  relieved  when  I  left  him. 

All  I  could  do  for  Alexander  was  to  ask  the  Cos- 
sack to  put  him  to  some  work  where  he  would  be 
around  horses.  I  asked  it  as  a  personal  favour. 
But  such  an  extraordinary  wish  for  the  sake  of  a 
prisoner  of  war  has  not  much  likelihood  of  being 
understood  or  carried  out  by  a  Russian  Cossack,  and 
perhaps  least  of  all  when  he  has  with  really  flatter- 
ing and  aff"able  ease  assured  you — tschestno  slovo — 
on  his  word  of  honour,  that  he  is  at  your  service. 

But  even  if  he  did  keep  his  promise,  Alexander  is 
not  sure  to  have  been  saved.  He  was,  after  all,  one 
of  those  who,  left  to  his  own  devices,  was  doomed  to 
remain  out  there. 


The  Flight  Through  Siberia 

WHAT  record  will  history  ever  have  of  the 
crash  of  the  counter  revolution  in  Siberia,  of 
the  flight  from  west  to  east  along  the  Sibe- 
rian railway.  The  press  was  not  there.  It  sat  in 
Fiume  and  read  the  false  Caesarian  proclamations  of 
the  aesthetic  Dictator  or  peeped  platonically  from  the 
Finnish  border  into  the  erstwhile  holy  but  now  dark 
red  Russia.  Those  who  witnessed  it  and  who  now 
from  Siberia  turn  back  to  the  world  will  not  particu- 
larly feel  like  writing;  they  will  have  all  the  mental 
conditions  for  forgetting  quickly,  for  there  is  noth- 
ing that  is  so  quickly  wiped  out  as  the  experience  of 
the  great  absolute  fear.  The  historians  of  the  fu- 
ture will  find  few  documents  to  peruse.  The  sup- 
ply of  paper  intended  for  the  archives  becomes 
minute  when  a  government,  an  army  and  a  civilian 
population  cling  to  the  thin,  insecure  thread  of  the 
Trans-Siberian  Railway  in  thirty  degrees  of  cold, 
Reaumur.  Those  who  died  in  Siberia,  died  in  si- 
lence therefore  in  more  than  one  sense.  The  snow 
fell,  and  the  white  waste  took  into  its  great  merciful 
oblivion  all  that  during  the  flight  fell  and  remained 
lying. 

When  it  began  I  too  was  out  there  on  the  Trans- 
Siberian  line  and  despaired  of  getting  home.  As 
usual,  as  long  as  I  had  not  yet  decided  to  go,  I  wa§ 

189 


190  The  Red  Garden 

ruled  by  the  bright  optimism  of  mankind,  the  in- 
stinct of  self-preservation  in  the  face  of  all  danger, 
without  which  there  would  not  now  be  a  living  per- 
son in  Russia — in  Siberia.  But  when  the  decision 
had  once  been  taken,  when  I  dared  to  begin  to  count 
the  days,  I  was  at  once  overcome  with  nervousness. 
Perhaps  the  right  moment  had  already  passed?  Per- 
haps all  would  collapse  around  me  today,  tomorrow 
and  I  grew  weak-kneed  when  I  thought  of  the  prospect 
of  remaining  for  years  more  in  this  Russian  Hell.  If 
I  had  wished  for  adventures  this  desire  was  now  dead 
in  me,  and  if  there  had  been  moments  when  life  or 
death  had  been  matters  of  indifference  to  me,  there 
was  now  within  me  an  awakened  perception  of  how 
aimless  it  would  be  to  let  myself  be  butchered  in  a 
struggle  which,  strictly  speaking,  did  not  concern  me 
at  all.  My  anxiety  was  exaggerated:  I  got  out  in 
time.  The  great  collapse,  as  I  had  rightly  calcu- 
lated, did  not  come  until  several  months  afterwards. 
But  I  was  four  weeks  in  getting  through  to  Kharbin 
and  during  that  time  was  not  out  of  my  clothes.  I 
slept  on  the  bare  boards  of  a  dirty  box  car  in  com- 
pany with  two  Russian  popes  and  several  officers'  fam- 
ilies from  Tomsk.  When  I  came  to  Kharbin  and 
in  the  palatial  home  of  Consul  Jacobsen  (East  Asi- 
atic Company)  sat  down  to  a  table  set  with  white  dam- 
ask, silver  and  sparkling  wine  glasses,  while  Chinese 
servants  carried  around  the  exquisite  French  cooking, 
I  pinched  my  arm  and  thought  of  my  box  car  down 
at  the  railway  station  where  the  remains  of  a  Manchu- 


The  Flight  Through  Siberia         191 

f, , 

rian  hen,  roasted  with  entrails  and  all,  still  lay,  and 
of  the  fact  that  I  had  not  had  a  bath  in  four  weeks. 

The  coming  of  the  collapse  itself  I  didn't  see  and 
yet,  in  those  days  I  was  in  doubt,  I  had,  without  the 
use  of  special  visionary  faculties,  deep  presentiments 
of  what  was  to  occur  and  which  it  was  my  earnest 
effort  not  to  have  to  see:  the  retreat  of  the  Whites 
along  the  Siberian  railway. 

But  I  also  saw  more  than  mere  vision,  because  the 
defeat  of  the  Kolchak  Government  was  not  only  in 
every  man's  expectation  (although  he  put  the  con- 
ception of  flight  away  as  being  hard  to  realize),  it 
lay  also  in  conditions  and  actual  circumstances  which 
met  the  eye.  It  lay  on  the  tracks  in  unending  rows 
of  cars  without  locomotives  and  beside  the  tracks  in 
overstrained  and  foundered  trains  and  in  burned  sta- 
tion buildings.  Those  were  days  when  we  almost 
incessantly  passed  the  skeletons  of  locomotives  and 
cars  that  the  Bolshevistic  guerilla  bands  had  suc- 
ceeded in  derailing  or  blowing  up  despite  the  guard- 
ing of  the  railway  by  the  Czecho-Slovaks  and  other 
Entente  troops.  Since  the  big  Bolshevik  battles  in 
1918  all  the  small  bridges  had  been  rebuilt,  but  the 
mighty  steel  bridges  over  the  large  rivers  were  still 
in  a  sad  condition  after  the  blowing  up ;  some  of  them 
gaped  in  the  empty  air  with  torn  arches  while  first 
a  trial  locomotive  and  then  the  train  itself  crept  over 
a  makeshift  pole  bridge  alongside.  As  the  great 
army  in  1812  were  forced  to  retreat  over  its  old  bat- 
tle fields  so  the  White  Army  had  to  retire  on  a  rail- 


192  The  Red  Garden 

,  ■      —■■..■      I  ■^— ,■■■■■■.        I.I  I  ■■^■■»  I  t 

way  line  that  along  its  whole  length  gave  the  impres- 
sion that  a  fleeing  host  had  just  vanished  where  the 
tracks  met  on  the  horizon.  As  far  as  misfortune  is 
concerned,  this  Siberian  retreat  need  hardly  pale  in 
comparison  with  Napoleon's. 

The  Kolchak  Government  was  still  in  Omsk  but 
it  was  hard  pressed  by  the  Bolsheviki.  It  was  a  ques- 
tion only  of  weeks  when  the  Whites  would  have  to 
abandon  the  capital  of  West  Siberia  after  having  in 
the  course  of  the  last  six  months  lost  the  eastern  and 
third  part  of  European  Russia.  From  Omsk  in  sum- 
mer there  are  three  ways  out,  to  the  rear  and  to  the 
sides;  one  to  tlie  north  along  the  river  Irtisch  to  To- 
bolsk and  Tomsk:  that  way  the  Bolsheviki  fled  in  the 
spring  of  1918  when  they  were  surprised  by  the 
Czecho-Slovaks  but  it  was  cut  off  for  the  Whites  by 
the  fall  of  Tomsk.  To  the  south  the  river  flows  to 
Semipalatinsk  but  that  way  ends  blindly  in  Mongolia. 
The  third,  middle  and  easterly  way  is  the  Trans- 
Siberian  Railway  through  Irkutsk  to  the  east.  This 
line  of  retreat  was  practically  speaking  the  only  one 
that  off"ered  itself  to  the  Whites  and  even  so  only  for 
a  restricted  portion  of  them.  By  the  fall  of  Omsk 
the  closest  populated  and  the  richest  part  of  west 
Siberia  was  cut  off"  from  the  east.  Therefore  it  was 
an  assured  fact  that  to  the  railway  would  stream  in 
motley  confusion  not  only  the  remains  of  the  de- 
feated army  and  goverment,  but  also  the  plain  civil- 
ian population  and  the  officers  of  the  garrisons  in  the 
back   country   in   so   far   as  they  were   able   to  get 


The  Flight  Through  Siberia         193 

through,  the  officials  and  their  families,  the  foreign 
consuls  and  missions  who  had  not  already  saved  them- 
selves, and  all  the  thousands  who  for  the  last  half 
year  had  been  constantly  fleeing  from  their  homes  in 
Russia  and  for  whom  the  signal  now  sounded  again. 
The  miserable  trains  that  even  in  those  times  when 
there  was  no  danger  near  got  slowly  under  way  be- 
cause of  lack  of  coal  and  missing  or  mislaid  re- 
serve parts,  would  be  stormed  by  frantic  masses  of 
humanity.  Omsk  is  being  "evacuated!"  The  word 
has  no  meaning  for  us,  may  we  never  live  to  see  the 
day  that  Copenhagen  shall  be  evacuated  to  Ring- 
sted.  For  the  last  two  years  Russia  has  been  in  con- 
stant evacuation,  I  was  in  Moscow  when  the  Bol- 
sheviki  in  fear  of  the  Germans  evacuated  Russia's 
gold  to  Kazan,  and  in  Kazan  when  it  was  unloaded. 
I  was  in  Omsk  when  the  Whites  brought  in  the  same 
gold,  captured  in  Kazan  and  under  Cossack  guard 
from  the  railway  station  to  the  bank.  And  on  the 
journey  out  parts  of  tlie  treasure  passed  me  on  the 
way  to  Irkutsk. 

The  railway  from  Omsk  to  Irkutsk  goes  through 
the  following  points  of  importance:  Novo-Nicko- 
laevsk.  Taiga  (where  the  local  branch  from  Tomsk 
meets  the  main  line),  Marinsk,  Krasnojarsk  and 
Nisjne  Udinsk.  In  normal  times  the  distance  can  be 
covered  in  three  days  and  nights.  I  was  three  days 
in  travelling  approximately  2000  kilometers  and  I 
spent  four  days  in  a  railway  station  waiting  for  a 
train.     Those  who  suffer  from  waiting  room  impa- 


194  The  Red  Garden 

r ■      ■■      ■        I  ^ 

tience  have  material  for  reflection.  I  have  at  times 
sat  back  to  back  with  a  Russian  soldier  for  twenty- 
four  stiff  hours  by  the  clock  and  waited  for  a  train 
which  would  come  no  one  knew  when  and  if  it  came 
no  one  knew  whether  it  would  start  again  for  a  while. 
But  four  days  is  my  record. 

Along  the  section  Omsk-Novo-Nikolaevsk  over 
eighty  trains  had  been  run  together  in  a  clump  out- 
side of  the  last  named  city  and  did  not  turn  a  wheel. 
The  mail  trains  were  two  days  in  covering  thirty  kilo- 
meters. Endless  rows  of  coaches,  most  of  them  with- 
out locomotives  were  piled  up.  For  the  few  engines 
that  were  to  be  found  coal  was  lacking,  or  it  was  im- 
possible to  get  them  over  to  a  water  tank.  On  the 
other  side  of  Novo-Nikolaevsk  there  were  fewer  trains 
but  always  a  half  score  at  the  larger  stations.  And 
in  Nisjne  Udinsk  and  just  outside  of  Irkutsk  they 
were  again  piled  up  until  they  at  last  formed  an  in- 
terminable park.  There  was  no  one  that  enter- 
tained the  slighest  hope  that  they  ever  would  run 
again.  It  was  doing;  a  great  deal  to  keep  tracks 
open  for  the  most  unpostponable  trains.  As  we 
never  stopped  less  than  twelve  hours  at  a  station  I 
had  occasion  enough  to  see  what  was  contained  in  all 
these  trains.  It  was  veritable  migration  on  wheels. 
Yes,  migration,  this  text  book  fact,  about  which  there 
is  so  little  in  the  history  books,  takes  place  now  every 
day  between  Petrograd  and  Vladivostok  and  can  be 
studied  here  in  the  field  without  special  need  of  Mon- 
umenta  Germanica  and  other  source  works.     The  set- 


The  Flight  Through  Siberia         195 

>         "  ■■  —-■■.■■  ■■ii»i         ■■  «»  II    —^^li—         I       ■ 

ting  is  slightly  different  from  the  Middle  Ages,  but 
the  reality  is  the  same.  History  is  the  history  of 
of  man  and  mankind  is  always  mankind. 

Most  of  the  groups  by  far  were  composed  of  re- 
fugees from  the  abandoned  districts  west  of  the  Ural 
mountains:  Perm,  Jekaterinburg,  Krasno-Ufimsk, 
Ufa,  Orenburg.  But  refugees  from  west  Siberia 
(Tjellabinsk,  Kurgan,  Tjumen)  had  also  gotten 
through.  How  many  of  them  there  were,  taken  all 
together,  will  be  cleared  up  some  time  when  statis- 
tics of  those  who  fled  before  the  Huns  also  is  pro- 
duced. But  it  will  be  a  six  ciphered  number.  They 
all  live  on  the  Siberian  Railway  if  they  have  not  by 
some  miracle  found  an  asylum  in  the  already  over- 
crowded cities.  The  trains  they  live  in  are  beyond 
power  of  description.  The  Siberian  rolling  stock  is 
very  primitive.  Coaches  divided  into  classes  are  a 
rarity.  They  have  been  burned  or  are  the  dwelling 
places  of  the  staffs  of  the  foreign  troops.  Even  the 
mail  trains  often  ran  with  only  one  third  class  coach 
and  the  rest  of  the  cars  the  so-called  "Tjepluskas" — 
"Heated  cars,"  built  during  the  war  and  only  differ- 
ent from  our  cattle  cars  of  the  poorest  type  in  that 
they  can  be  heated  by  the  passengers  themselves  if  the 
stove  has  not  been  stolen,  as  it  nearly  always  has. 
They  are  otherwise  quite  good  cars  when  there  aren't 
too  many  people  in  them;  I  have  travelled  some  ten 
thousand  kilometers  in  these  box  cars. — But  in  refu- 
gee trains  I  have  not  travelled;  their  like  has  hardly 
been  seen  before.     They  were  composed  of  cars  that 


196  The  Red  Garden 

elsewhere  would  have  been  sold  for  old  iron  long  ago. 
It  was  easy  to  see  why  the  evacuating  military  and 
the  administrations  had  let  them  stand  as  unservice- 
able. Many  were  splintered  from  collisions  they 
had  sustained,  others  bore  marks  of  the  Bolshevik 
war  of  the  year  before  in  the  form  of  scars  from 
bomb  explosions.  The  common  man  had  jammed  to- 
gether what  remained  after  the  official  evacuation  and 
at  last  he  had  even  managed  to  get  a  rusty  locomo- 
tive to  run.  Since  the  flight  began,  that  is  for  from 
two  to  six  months  these  trains  ran  and  stood  on  the 
Line.  By  thousands,  people  lived  in  them,  generally 
families  with  lodgers.  In  vain  one  asked  himself 
what  had  caused  these  swarms  to  leave  house  and 
home.  The  upper  class  or  even  the  plain  well-to-do 
citizens  were  not  represented.  They  had  fled  also, 
of  course,  but  lived  parasite-like  in  military  hospital 
trains.  They  did  not  sit  in  refugee  cars.  Here  one 
saw  first  of  all  those  who  were  forced  to  flee:  officials 
and  their  families.  Then  teachers  and  office  people. 
But  numerous  labourers  and  peasants  were  also 
along.  Often  the  Tjepluska  was  quite  comfortably 
arranged,  the  conjugal  bed  was  made  up  with  large 
featherbeds,  there  were  pictures  on  the  sooty  walls 
and  of  course  the  samovar  was  boiling  on  the  table. 
In  the  cars  I  have  seen  all  sorts  of  articles  for  cheer 
and  usefulness  in  the  home:  pianos,  graphophones, 
canary  birds,  chamber  pots,  carpets,  Grandpa  in  an 
American  rocking  chair,  families  on  benches  around 
the  table  and  eating  from  real  tableware.     I  have 


The  Flight  Through  Siberia  197 

also  seen  cars  with  nothing  in  but  people  who  lay  on 
the  filthy  floor  and  scratched  themselves  for  vermin. 
There  were  cars  where  peasant  families  lived  to- 
gether with  their  cows  and  calves  and  hens,  unless 
they  had  been  so  ambitious  as  to  fence  off"  a  transport 
flat-car  with  branches  and  hook  it  to  the  train.  Old 
broken  wagons,  lean  horses,  melancholy  cows  and 
indiff"erent  hogs  rode  along  through  the  thousands  of 
districts  and  stood  through  the  nights  and  stared  at 
the  strange  stars.  Perhaps  they  bore  hidden  away 
down  in  their  unfathomable  imbecility  a  question  that 
those  who  dragged  them  along  never  asked  themselves 
— What  for — why?  Of  course  it  was  also  fear  that 
drove  even  the  poorest  on  their  way.  They  followed 
the  stream.  They  were  under  the  planless  sugges- 
tion of  flight.  And  they  risked  so  little  by  fleeing. 
Poorer  than  they  already  were  they  could  hardly  be- 
come, no  matter  where  they  went.  Perhaps  things 
would  be  better  there  where  they  happened  to  stop. 
The  Russian  lets  himself  be  moved  about  so  easily 
and  the  fatigue  of  travelling  all  too  easily  becomes 
that  permanent  siesta,  unconcern  for  the  morrow, 
about  which  no  one  knows  anyway.  His  tempera- 
ment is  attracted  by  the  nomadic.  The  Russian  pea- 
sant has  always  been  the  world's  most  and  furthest 
travelled.  The  appetite  for  migration  dwells  deep 
in  his  prairie  nature. 

All  the  station  buildings  on  the  Line  were  pasted 
over  with  notes  of  every  size  bearing  laconic  bits  of 
information  from  and  to  relatives  and  friends,  who 


198  The  Red  Garden 

had  become  separated  from  each  other  and  were  try- 
ing to  get  together  again. 

"To  Nikolaj  Alexandrovitch  Baukin.  We  were 
here  four  days.  We  have  gone  further  on  to  Ma- 
rinsk.     Baukins." 

"Anna!  Come  to  Taiga.  I  live  at  the  house  of 
Fjodor  Petrovitch.  Peter  died  the  27th.  Your 
mother  Sofie  Sergievna." 

Long  novels  have  become  old-fashioned  and  the 
short  story  wins  the  approval  of  the  time.  But  life 
itself  rises  above  literary  modes  and  writes  intermin- 
able novels  in  an  extremely  curt  style. 

In  between  the  fleeing  groups  other  trains  stood  and 
waited  for  further  orders.  I  saw  English,  Italian, 
Czech,  Polish,  Rumanian  and  Jugo-Slav  troop  trains, 
well  nourished  soldiers  in  ornamental  uniforms,  dan- 
dified officers  with  ribbons  and  crosses  and  with 
heavy  revolvers  hanging  at  their  sides.  There  were 
enough  soldiers  to  capture  Moscow,  if  they  would 
fight.  But  officers  and  men  thought  only  of  getting 
out  while  there  was  time.  "We're  through  fighting. 
We're  not  going  to  let  ourselves  be  killed  for  the  sake 
of  the  Russian  swine."  Most  of  them  sympathized 
highly  with  the  Bolsheviki,  if  they  would  only  stay 
away  until  they  themselves  were  in  safety.  There 
were  trains  full  of  unfortunate  German  and  Hunga- 
rian prisoners  of  war  for  whom  the  journey  again 
led  eastward  away  from  the  home  that  was  still  in 
their  thoughts,  the  idyll  they  had  left  five  years  ago 
and  which  since  then  had  been  greatly  beautified  in 


The  Flight  Through  Siberia  199 

their  longings.  The  majority  were  old  men  who  sat 
silently  in  the  cars  and  sucked  on  the  faithful  briar 
pipe  that  had  known  home,  the  campaign  and  im- 
prisonment, or  at  least  had  been  made  by  their  own 
hands  in  the  loving  image  of  remembrance.  There 
were  dying  men  among  them  but  they  died  without 
outcries.  And  on  every  face  was  the  clammy  white- 
ness that  tells  of  an  unutterable  want  and  of  consum- 
ing tuberculosis.  What  had  they  not  suffered,  these 
people!  The  soul  of  pain  was  in  their  eyes  and  in 
suffering  they  had  become  patient,  silent,  humble. 
Give  them  hope  and  they  growl  at  once.  Give  them 
freedom  and  they  begin  to  hate.  Give  them  weap- 
ons and  they  want  to  see  others  suffer.  Brutality 
rises  in  them  as  an  evil  fluid.  How  often  have  I  not 
experienced  that.  These  prisoners  were  to  be  seen 
in  all  these  stages  along  the  Line. 

And  there  were  trains  with  cartridges  and  artillery, 
trains  with  flying  machines  that  were  never  to  fly, 
trains  of  gypsies  whom  the  good  God  must  have  evac- 
uated for  no  one  else  had  given  them  a  thought. 
But  God  loves  children'  and  that  the  majority  in  these 
trains  were.  There  were  long  train  loads  of  Polish 
Jews  who  had  been  fleeing  for  five  years.  Ahasuerus 
beat  it  by  way  of  the  Siberian  Railway — tomor- 
row he  fled  back  again  possessed  by  a  new  fear.  His 
young  daughters  sat  in  the  midst  of  all  the  wretched- 
ness and  in  flaming  flirtations  showed  off  their  aqui- 
line beauty  with  officers  of  all  nationalities.  There 
were  hospital  trains  that  slank  of  death  and  carbolic 


200  The  Red  Garden 

acid.  The  wounded  were  months  on  the  way  and 
they  who  reached  the  operating  table  alive  were  rot- 
ten as  corpses  brought  up  from  the  grave.  They  who 
were  not  dying  within  the  trains,  bumped  up  and 
down  on  the  running  boards  outside  and  were  never 
at  rest.  There  were  Japanese  trains  neat  and  clean, 
and  full  of  barrels.  Back  of  the  placards  with  the 
crimson-beamed  sun,  the  red-collared,  yellow  men 
squatted  on  their  haunches  and  ate  rice — they  re- 
sembled monkeys  despite  the  burnished  copper  ware. 
There  were  trains  and  more  trains  with  seventeen- 
year-old  recruits  on  their  way  to  mobilization.  No 
one  thought  of  them  any  more,  they  sat  long  days  and 
spat  sunflower-seeds  on  the  track  and  waited  the  ar- 
rival of  an  officer  or  more  probably  of  food.  They 
were  still  in  their  peasant  clothes  and  little  by  little 
no  doubt  they  ran  home  to  their  villages,  if  they 
weren't  too  many  hundred  miles  away.  There  were 
trainloads  of  recruits  in  Canadian  uniforms  and  with 
short  English  rifles;  they  fought  good-naturedly 
among  themselves,  played  cards  and  talked  confiden- 
tially of  how  one  went  about  being  taken  prisoner. 
Good  Lord,  the  oldest  of  them  were  not  over  twenty! 
And  how  many  thousands  of  them  were  not  shot  as 
deserters.  There  were  trains  with  American  ploughs 
with  matches  and  paper;  Red  Cross  trains  with  Amer- 
icans aboard;  here  nothing  was  lacking  and  if  there 
was  medicine  in  the  first  car  there  was  sure  to  be 
goods  for  speculation  in  the  ten  following.  There 
were  real  military  trains  that  slid  smoothly  through 


The  Flight  Through  Siberia  201 

with  the  aid  of  all  kinds  of  distinguished  papers  that 
only  cost  the  issuers  a  little  work  on  the  typewriter 
but  gave  big  money  in  return;  for  ladies'  silk  stock- 
ings and  French  perfume  made  in  Japan  were  rare 
wares  in  Siberia,  and  yet  they  are,  as  all  knew  who 
were  along,  one  of  the  necessities  of  the  war.  And 
mail  and  express  trains  were  running  and  seldom  ar- 
rived the  appointed  day  and  when  they  did  come  they 
were  overflowing  even  into  the  toilet  rooms  of  the 
first  class  coaches  with  people  who  all  travelled  on 
lawful  business  and  who  could  show  fine  travelling 
permits  and  had  paid  for  their  tickets  and  so  forth. 
And  there  were  always  noticeably  many  Jews  with 
much  baggage  who  travelled  westward  and  notice- 
ably many  officers  who  travelled  eastward. 

Next  in  long  rows  were  trains  that  were  loaded 
only  with  evacuated  institutions:  a  county  court  from 
Bugulma,  Perm's  consistory,  an  insurance  company 
from  Ufa,  tables  and  chairs,  records  and  typewriters, 
safes  and  wastepaper  baskets  are  at  rest  out  in  the 
middle  of  the  Siberian  plain.  Where  will  they  be 
put  up  again  and  will  the  ants  after  all  ever  turn 
back  to  the  overturned  hive?  They  will  surely. 
"Go  to  the  ant  and  be  wise,"  said  Solomon.  And  he 
meant,  no  doubt,  in  regard  to  mankind. 

Of  all  that  one  can  see  on  the  Siberian  Railway 
Line  there  is  after  all  nothing  so  disquieting  as  the 
echelons  of  captured  Bolsheviki.  When  prisoners 
have  been  taken  and  the  real  Communists  and  those 
who  by  chance  are  included  have  been  shot,  there  is 


202  The  Red  Garden 

always  a  whole  mob  which  even  the  captors  are  re- 
luctant to  shoot.  It  is  unjust  that  man  shouldn't  have 
been  endowed  with  a  completely  murderous  nature. 
It  is  indeed  a  positive  pleasure  for  him  to  kill,  he 
enjoys  seeing  his  activities  rewarded  by  indisputable 
results,  but  emotion  demands  its  right  and  sets  cer- 
tain bounds.  Therefore  a  certain  number  of  the  left- 
over Bolsheviki  were  generally  put  in  the  army  and 
sent  to  the  front  where  at  first  opportunity  they  went 
over  to  the  enemy  which  was  quite  contrary  to  the 
good  intentions  with  which  they  had  been  sent.  The 
rest  were  brought  to  some  camp  or  other  where  be- 
hind the  barbed  wire  fence  they  vied  with  one  another 
in  dying  of  the  many  different  kinds  of  typhus  for 
which  medical  science  has  names  but  which  it  is  not 
worth  while  to  be  able  to  distinguish  when  one  never 
sees  a  doctor  anyway.  When  the  evacuating  took 
place  all  this  wretchedness  was  also  packed  together, 
forty  men  in  each  Tjepluska  and  the  train  was  gener- 
ally made  up  of  about  1200  prisoners.  On  the  move 
the  cars  were  sealed,  there  was  only  the  light  which 
leaked  through  the  cracks.  When  they  stopped  the 
door  was  opened  up  on  the  one  side  and  this  side 
the  guard  patrolled.  Food  was  given  twice  every 
twenty-four  hours,  rye  bread  and  boiling  water. 
Those  who  died  were  gotten  out  of  the  way.  The 
survivors  buried  them  themselves.  Provisions  for 
the  natural  functions  of  the  prisoners  were  also  made. 
Once  a  day  they  were  brought  out  in  flocks  of  three 
hundred  on  an  open  field.     The  guards  with  their 


The  Flight  Through  Siberia         203 

shiny,  bayonetted,  and  loaded  rifles  camped  around 
them  and  the  300  gave  from  them  what  they  had  un- 
der the  unashamed  countenance  of  God.  I  watched 
this  sight  only  once  in  company  with  an  English  of- 
ficer, long  and  thin  as  is  his  type,  all  clothes,  leather, 
buttons  and  straight  lines.  He  said  nothing  and 
neither  did  I  speak.  Even  now  so  long  afterward  it 
seems  to  me  that  it  was  not  on  earth  that  I  experienced 
it.  It  was  in  Hell — it  was  the  damned  who  sat  as 
shades  and  bore  testimony  before  their  living  fellow- 
men. 

I  have  often  from  my  railway  car  talked  with  these 
prisoners  when  an  echelon  by  chance  lay  on  a  side 
track.  The  majority  were  dull,  others  had  insanity 
shining  out  of  their  eyes.  They  seemed  about  to 
have  fits  of  rage  and  to  set  their  teeth  in  each  other's 
throats.  There  were  also  intelligent  people  and  peo- 
ple who  only  had  become  thoughtful  and  silent.  I 
still  remember  a  number  of  good  and  not  unrefined 
people  who  were  able  to  talk  plainly  and  straight- 
forwardly of  their  misfortunes.  And  there  were  also 
all  kinds  of  people  good  and  bad,  the  scum  of  the 
jails,  mere  boys,  and  people  who  resembled  aged 
men.  But  with  many  it  was  the  old  story,  they  had 
been  arrested  on  suspicion  and  had  been  brought 
along  because  they  had  served  the  Bolsheviki  as 
clerks,  drivers,  etc.,  their  case  was  to  be  looked  into 
and  so  they  were  put  in  camps  with  the  others  and 
now  they  had  been  here  eight  weeks  or  so  and  rode 
from  city  to  city  and  were  received  nowhere  for  lack 


204  The  Red  Garden 

of  room  or  fear  of  contagion.  Most  of  all  they 
feared  the  coming  of  winter.  "The  nights  are  al- 
ready cold  and  we  have  no  covering."  Which  was 
the  truth,  for  it  was  only  the  richest  who  had  both 
trousers  and  shirt.  Many  were  naked  and  boots  I 
have  not  seen  on  a  single  Bolshevik  in  these  trans- 
ports. 

Where  now  are  all  the  people  I  saw  then?  Now 
that  the  cold  weather  has  come,  now  that  the  sun  rises 
blood-red  through  the  frost  fog  in  the  morning,  now 
that  the  bare  flesh  freezes  fast  on  the  iron  parts  of  the 
coaches.  Does  a  jar,  a  tingling  movement  go 
through  the  many  rows  of  cars?  Has  that  which 
was  awaited  so  long  in  anxiety  and  trembling,  but 
also  in  hope,  come  at  last?  Has  the  return  of  the 
Whites  by  the  Siberian  Railway  Line  begun? 


4;K 

3: 


THE  LIBRARY 
UNIVERSITY  OF  CALIFORNIA 

Santa  Barbara 


THIS  BOOK  IS  DUE  ON  THE  LAST  DATE 
STAMPED  BELOW. 


[APR  8  0  iQ7a 


RETURNED  JUL  27  1984 


S^.  '•'"Vr^ 


Series  9482 


mmmmmn,^^^^^'^'^^  library  facility 


A  A      000  315  348 


'■— 'S^